It’s that time of the month again

By Kendrah Villiesse

With final exams around the corner, students cram their minds with vocabulary and equations, but female students might neglect something else: ordering and picking up birth control pills.

Nick Chang founded The Pill Club, a monthly subscription service that links women to medical practitioners and delivers birth control care packages all over the country, in May 2016. Chang started the organization after noticing the barriers women faced trying to secure birth control. 

The Pill Club distributes the birth control care packages to 46 states and has medical staff prescribing birth control in five states. Illinois was its most recent addition, beginning April 5, according to Manbir Sodhia, head of Digital Strategy at The Pill Club. 

“There is all of that hassle, then you have to repeat that every month, going back to the pharmacy,” Sodhia said. “It is a part of our mission to improve access. Although we are a business, we want to make sure there is no challenge to getting birth control.” 

The boxes not only include birth control pills but also chocolates, condoms, stickers and a lifestyle product such as tampons or makeup. The Pill Club accepts insurance from multiple companies,  allowing nearly every patient to subscription free or at a low cost, according to Sodhia.

Patients without insurance can purchase birth control at a low cost that varies based on the method prescribed, according to the company’s website.

When patients sign up, they are asked to complete a detailed questionnaire about their medical histories. The medical staff reviews the answers and prescribes the most suitable birth control pill for the patient, Sodhia said. 

Jacquelyn Lee, an accountant at InSource Diagnostics, a clinical laboratory, joined The Pill Club when the company launched and has been a fan ever since. Living in San Francisco, Lee said it was difficult for her to get to the pharmacy without having to worry about business hours and relying on public transportation or Uber. 

“I was excited that I could get my pills delivered and not worry about making a trip out to the pharmacy in the middle of the city,” Lee said. 

Although Lee noted her love of the goodies added to the box each month, she said the best part of The Pill Club is how responsive the nurse practitioners are.

“Being able to text them, because I do everything on my phone, it is just the easiest way for me to get in touch with someone,” Lee said.

Becoming a member in November 2017, Laura Zamora, client experience analyst at NextGen Healthcare, said she also appreciated the option of either texting or calling a nurse practitioner at any time. The Pill Club’s service went above and beyond her expectations, she added. 

“Everything is so cute, they send stickers and coupons and the chocolate was just a good idea,” Zamora said. “It was little things, but it showed they cared.”  

Sodhia said he values The Pill Club providing women the power and freedom to decide about birth control and giving patients easy access to it. 

“A lot of people put birth control on this pedestal, making it seem like it is an unattainable goal they have to reach out and grab,” Sodhia said. “We are just trying to level the playing field by making it as easy to get as any other medication. We want to make it a fun and memorable journey.” 

Update 4/23/18 at 5:35 p.m.: A previous version of this story stated medical staff at The Pill Club are able to prescribe birth control in 15 states. It is actually five states. The Chronicle regrets this error. 

 

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