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Health

Coloradans Can Now Use App To Fill Birth Control Prescriptions

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Raychel Mendez
/
Flickr

We’ve all said it -- sometimes joking, sometimes serious.

“There’s an app for that.”

For Coloradans seeking seeking birth control, that’s now a true statement. The Nurx app allows people to bypass traditional methods of accessing birth control -- and offers home delivery. 

It works like this: The patient fills out a medical survey on the app. Nurx then connects them with a doctor who prescribes an appropriate birth control medication. Their prescribed medication is then delivered to the person’s home.

State data shows unintended pregnancies decreasing among Colorado teens and young adults, but Maryam Fikri with Nurx says barriers to access still exist, like cost and location of clinics, especially in more rural areas.

“It’s even more critical for people that live in counties or rural areas,” she says, “where there literally isn’t enough supply of doctors or clinics or publicly funded clinics for people to meet the demand of birth control.”

Fikri says the app also helps alleviate frequent and sometimes expensive doctor visits. 

More than 35 percent of all pregnancies (PDF) in the state are unintended, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. With teenage pregnancies, the number is closer to 70 percent. Increased access to birth control might help reduce that figure, which in turn helps reduce social and economic costs.

“We know just from research that the longer a family can delay or time their pregnancies or starting their families, the more economically self-sufficient they will become,” Jody Camp, chair of the State Family Planning Administrators, told KUNC.

Fikri says the app’s founders, Hans Gangeskar and Dr. Edvard Engesaeth, saw in their own lives the need for more convenient ways to fill prescriptions.

“Edvard would get texts from a lot of his friends,” Fikri explains, “saying, ‘My girlfriend needs her prescription refilled and she hasn’t had time to go to the doctor for birth control.’”

Dr. Engesaeth teamed up with Gangeskar to create the app, and the service first delivered the HIV drug PrEP to patients before expanding to birth control. It began in San Francisco and now operates in 18 states. Fikri says the company wants to go nationwide by the end of 2018.

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