When the birth control pill came out six decades ago, it revolutionized women's lives. But today, many of us take for granted a simple pill that gives us control over our bodies. And we've come to resent new inconveniences: like having to take your pill each day and pick up your prescription from the pharmacy once a month. Most of us have struggled to find time in our busy days to run to the pharmacy when it's time to refill. On unlucky months, you might get there after it's closed or completely forget because something came up at work.
To avoid this monthly errand and the daily task of taking a pill, many women have switched to an IUD, especially after the Affordable Care Act made IUDs free with insurance, along with other birth control. But for others, the pill just works and they don't want to mess with a good thing. If that's you, you'll be happy to know about The Pill Club, a modern delivery service that only specializes in birth control, including the pill, the patch, the ring, and emergency contraception. If you have insurance, you don't even need to enter credit card information when you sign up for The Pill Club. And each month, your prescription is delivered with extra goodies, like chocolate or even organic personal lubricants from Good Clean Love.
How It Works
Nick Chang, the founder, says his start-up is like a "concierge service" for women on birth control. If you already have a birth control prescription and insurance, all you need to do is share some information with The Pill Club. It'll ask you for your current pharmacy information, to take a quick survey, and to snap a pic of your insurance card. "Because birth control is a $0 copay product, 90 percent of patients don't even enter a credit card," Chang explains.
The company also relies on text messaging to communicate with customers. Say you're traveling and need your prescription sent somewhere else, you can simply text The Pill Club your change of address. Same goes for if you need your medication sent earlier.
Say you're traveling and need your prescription sent somewhere else, you can simply text.
Before Chang — who has a medical degree from Duke University — started this service for women, he made sure to talk to a lot of them. "We interviewed nearly 500 college women." What did they learn? "Greater than 90 percent still picked up their medication every month from the local Walgreens or CVS. Women didn't like using mail order for birth control or didn't know it existed." So his team decided to change that.
By working only with birth control, The Pill Club can tailor the experience. Chang says this results in an easier sign-up experience, better communication, faster processing, and a higher-end experience. This also allows them to accommodate the so-called "problem" patients for traditional mail-order services. Chang explains: "You know, the ones who go home for Christmas break, change jobs each year, or heaven forbid, move to NY for an internship. Because we specialize, all of our workflows and ops are tailored."
Why It's More Than a Delivery Service
If you don't have a prescription for birth control, The Pill Club can also help with that. It's way more than a basic mail-order prescription service: it can also independently prescribe medication in California. (New York is next, and it hopes to roll out this service to 48 states within a year.) "The Pill Club's pharmacy has over 70 forms of contraceptives to choose from," Chang explains. "If you're a woman in California, you can sign up, communicate with someone from our team to discuss basic medical details, and then work together to be prescribed the correct form of birth control."
It can also independently prescribe medication.
Same goes for women who experience negative side effects from their current birth control. "We will continue to text you directly with check-ins and updates," Chang says. He believes that because The Pill Club can deal with every step of the birth control process, it can help you adjust dosages and answer questions so you find the right medication. It's more personalized. Chang continues: "Our NPs and PharmDs are readily available to field questions. There's no shame here. We see it all from questions on price to acne to weight gain. We're more than happy to help."
How Women Without Insurance Win, Too
If you don't have insurance, The Pill Club charges a $15 annual consultation fee. It will then work to find you a competitive cost for your prescription. For example, it will seek out a lower-cost equivalent of the same drug from a different manufacturer or help you save money by buying more than one month's supply at a time. In addition, The Pill Club will provide emergency contraception to women without insurance for $15 (it's free if you have insurance).
For women with insurance, you may be wondering how free services like this could change if President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress manage to turn back birth control provisions put in place by the Affordable Care Act. Chang hopes that if that happens, The Pill Club can help fill the gaps in women's health care: "You will need the pill whether you have Obamacare or not. So services like The Pill Club, where women can go to actually be prescribed contraceptives and also have them delivered, will become crucial if alternatives are limited."
Chang also notes that states like California already have laws in place to protect patients if the Affordable Care Act is scaled back. "If Obamacare is ultimately taken out of the picture, states with progressive legislatures will pass state laws to protect women's rights," he hopes. The Pill Club wants to help prepare women if anything does happen to the ACA or Planned Parenthood by providing patients with backup options, like emergency contraceptives.
The Pill Club can help fill the gaps in women's health care.
"Our vision at The Pill Club is to really normalize the concept of birth control," Chang explains. And it wants to give women an easy way to deal with their medication. "We're employing very intelligent, highly educated individuals who can not only dispense birth control, medicine, and work with insurers, but also want to connect with their patients." The company hopes the entire experience is enjoyable, fun, and something to look forward to each month. Who could ever say that about picking up your birth control at the pharmacy each month?