Dr. B has raised $8 million in seed funding for its newly launched telehealth prescription service now available in 41 states. The company is named after CEO and Founder Cyrus Massoumi’s grandfather, who was nicknamed Dr. Bubba and became a doctor during the 1918 Spanish flu.
Founded at the height of Covid-19 in 2021, New York City-based Dr. B started as an online business that matched people with unused vaccines. It was able to offer vaccines to more than 1 million people in 37 states by partnering with more than 700 healthcare providers, according to a news release. Now as vaccines are more readily available, the company is switching gears. It now aims to improve the limited access to at-home Covid-19 treatments, starting with Paxlovid and molnupiravir.
“While Covid-19 antiviral pills have been available for several months and there is a lot of demand, many people still have a hard time accessing them because they require a prescription,” Massoumi said. “Patients need flexible options for getting that prescription, which is why we started by providing Covid-19 antiviral prescriptions.”
Although the company is starting with these prescriptions, the funding will help it expand to other treatments beyond Covid-19, Massoumi said. This includes treatments for heart health, dermatology and reproductive care. The startup will also work to offer its service in languages other than Spanish and English, he added.
To receive prescription medications, Dr. B patients fill out an online assessment through its website. They have to submit a photo of a positive Covid-19 test and answer questions about symptoms, pre-existing conditions and medications they’re currently taking. Then a board-certified doctor reviews the responses and if the physician finds the patient is eligible, a prescription is sent to the patient’s pharmacy of choice.
“We solve a key pain point in the process — the need to get a doctor prescription within five days of testing positive,” Massoumi said. “Our platform offers a hassle-free way to get prescriptions online, without the need for an appointment.”
The company is focused on providing low-cost — or sometimes no-cost — care to patients, said Massoumi, who previously founded Zocdoc, an online service that allows people to find and book medical appointments.
“I’m proud of the work we accomplished while I was at Zocdoc, but one of my biggest regrets is that we didn’t do enough to improve access to healthcare for everyone,” he said. “I’m trying to correct that with Dr. B.”
Most patients pay a $15 consultation fee. But people who need it can receive the services for free, as long as they qualify. These patients have to fill out a questionnaire about their monthly income to determine if they’re eligible.
Massoumi added that while the fee “is less than the average insurance copay” it still helps Dr. B to provide “no-cost care for lower-income patients.”
Photo: Stuart Ritchie, Getty Images