"Uber for birth control" comes to Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. - Getting a prescription for birth control might not require a trip to the doctor anymore. The company NURX makes contraceptives available with just a few clicks on your computer. As of Tuesday, the service is available in Washington.

It's being described as the "Uber for birth control" because women and teens can get birth control without ever stepping foot in a doctor's office.

"Every year in the U.S., there are over 3 million unintended pregnancies and a lot of those are because people don't have quick, convenient access to birth control," Hans Gangeskar, Co-Founder and CEO of NURX, said in a Skype interview with KXLY.

For many, a trip to the doctor can be time-consuming and sometimes costly. Gangeskar says NURX strives to give women more access to birth control than ever.

"There's a real need for service like this across the board," Gangeskar said.

So how does it work? First, you fill out some basic health information about yourself. Then choose between a variety of birth control pills or have a doctor choose for you. The ring and the patch as well as emergency contraceptives like Plan B are also available. NURX's doctors review your request and write a prescription. A three month supply is shipped right your door.

"Typically for the user it's a two to three minute interaction online and then you get the drugs in the mail one to two days later," Gangeskar said.

If you have insurance, your birth control will likely be free. If not, the cheapest option is about $15 a month.

But some experts say this seemingly convenient method of birth control isn't for everyone.

"Birth control is not one size fits all. There are many options out there and I think patients and doctors need to work together to find the best individual option," Dr. Jennifer Wu, OBGYN, said.

NURX has drawn little criticism as many doctors believe birth control should be easy to access.

"Everyone here believes really passionately in expanding access to birth control and expanding access to women's health," Gangeskar said.

NURX recently starting making the HIV prevention medication Truvada available through their website. The CDC says more than 1.2 million people in the U.S. who are at an increased risk of HIV should take Truvada daily as studies have shown it to be up to 99 percent effective in preventing transmission of the virus.

"Unfortuantely, awareness about, and access to this revolutionary drug is still a problem. By making Truvada more accessible through our app, we hope to change the game in the fight to end the HIV epidemic," Gangeskar said.

Gangeskar said he's planning to launch a NURX app soon, but right now their services are just on the website.