- Nurx is a health-tech startup that sells birth control and other prescriptions online and is valued at about $111 million.
- The startup has hired a new medical director, Dr. Kim Boyd. Boyd got her medical degree at Stanford and is a veteran of health startups One Medical and Galileo.
- Nurx was recently the subject of a New York Times investigation that found the company had taken shortcuts in pursuit of growth. One of the former employees who was concerned about this was Nurx’s onetime medical director, who left in January.
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Embattled health-tech startup Nurx has hired a new top doctor to replace its former medical director, who departed in January and publicly criticized the company’s practices.
Knox told the New York Times that the startup’s approach was "Don’t ask for permission — ask for forgiveness later."
Her comments were part of an article in which former Nurx employees told the newspaper that the startup took shortcuts in pursuit of growth, and potentially at the expense of patient care. (Nurx denies that patient were ever at risk, and says that the context of examples in the Times story wasn’t made clear enough.)
Boyd’s hiring is part of an effort to revamp the startup’s leadership as the company seeks to continue to grow. That includes a new CEO, Varsha Rao, who started last month.
As Nurx’s medical director, Boyd will work with Jessica Horwitz, Nurx’s VP of clinical services, to oversee a network of more than 20 healthcare providers. They’ll also work with new medical advisors on clinical guidelines, and how to implement them into the organization. Boyd will be responsible for expanding the provider team and upholding high standards as the company grows, Nurx said.
Boyd has a medical degree from Stanford and trained as a family medicine doctor at Oregon Health and Science University.
From One Medical to Nurx
Nurx sells prescriptions like birth control pills online. The pills and other offerings are first vetted by medical providers and then delivered to your door. Founded by two men and launched in 2014, the buzzy startup has raised nearly $42 million from investors like the prominent Kleiner Perkins and is valued at about $111 million, according to PitchBook.
Boyd said she was drawn to the startup’s work, especially in so-called contraceptive deserts, areas of the US where women have limited access to health services. The startup also has other product offerings, including the preventive HIV medicine PrEP.
"And it’s also the kind of medicine that’s easily left behind. Contraception and PrEP, it’s public health. Being interested in really making a difference in the world is a huge driving factor," Boyd told Business Insider, calling the new job a "huge opportunity to transform people’s lives."
A ‘disconnect’ in traditional medicine led Boyd to new models
NurxAfter training as a physician, Boyd knew she didn’t want to work in traditional medicine.
"People do unbelievable, herculean work, but it’s not meeting either what the doctor or patient needs, so there’s a disconnect," she said.
Drawn to practices that had fresh, new approaches, Boyd began working as a virtual doctor for One Medical. It was an eye-opening experience, she said, and she realized that "not only is this just as thorough and intense as what we’re doing in the office, in some ways it’s actually better medicine," without limitations like short time slots.
The Nurx team is excited about Boyd’s background, Rao told Business Insider, adding that "for us, clinical decisionmaking and the integrity of our decisionmaking is super important."
Boyd said she got a heads up about the unfavorable New York Times investigation a few weeks before starting on the job. That news was "certainly not anything anyone wants to hear," she said.
"It was not an article I was excited to see, but I take it in the context of where Nurx is and where it wants to go. And the building blocks are solidly in place," Boyd said.
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