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Happy Thursday, readers.
Telehealth firm Ro just launched what it’s dubbing a “digital health clinic for men” via its men’s health-focused arm Roman.
The company, which has its roots in the direct-to-consumer erectile dysfunction market, has recently expanded its ambitions beyond the men’s health space, including with telehealth services for smoking cessation and a vertical meant to advise women who are about to go through menopause.
But the new effort underscores how important the men’s health business is to Ro’s portfolio.
The so-called “Health Guide” is a digital publication from Roman. It’s sort of a man-centric WebMD, addressing questions men may have about everything from STIs to hair loss and diabetes.
As for the peer review process, Ro stated that anything published in the guide would be “information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies unless explicitly stated.”
I spoke with Ro’s CEO, Zachariah Reitano, a few weeks ago about a separate project the company was working on—a partnership with drug giant Pfizer meant to leapfrog the company’s rivals in the generic Viagra space.
Here’s how Reitano described the importance of that partnership: “I compare it to buying coffee. You can buy coffee at two different places. All the coffee contains caffeine. But so many things go into making that cup of coffee that go into the quality of that product and experience.”
The comparison is intriguing. And Ro’s efforts in this crowded market could be a signal for how other telehealth companies follow.
Read on for the day’s news.
A new lawsuit claims Juul bought ads on children's websites. BuzzFeed News reports that internal documents from vaping giant Juul explicitly targeted young people, including by buying ads on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and other children's websites. "Juul knew it was selling to kids," said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. "They plastered the internet." Juul has consistently maintained that it has never deliberately targeted teens as a market for its vaping devices. (BuzzFeed)
Eisai's weight loss drug pulled from the market over cancer risk. Japanese pharma giant Eisai said on Thursday that it's pulling its weight loss drug Belviq from the market following Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerns that the treatment may be linked with a slightly elevated risk of cancer. While Eisai takes some exception to that claim, the company has still agreed to voluntarily withdraw the product. (The Japan Times)
THE BIG PICTURE
Business versus the coronavirus. My colleague Erika Fry has a fascinating piece on the coronavirus—and how it's currently turning many businesses upside down. Erika spoke with Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, who had this to say: "Trying to contain this is like trying to contain the wind." (Fortune)
For tackling climate change, English bishops look to God, by Katherine Dunn
Why so many things seem expensive despite historically low inflation, by Erik Sherman
Home broadband providers face an uncertain future in the 5G era, by Don Reisinger