Jul 23, 2022 - Health

Roe reversal spurs Favor to embrace a "brand moment"

Illustration of a pack of contraceptive pills and abstract shapes.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Favor, the digital pharmacy formerly known as The Pill Club, reversed course when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: The company had intended to expand beyond birth control, but it saw demand for emergency contraception spike 5,000% in the 72 hours after the Supreme Court ruling. So it pivoted back to its roots, focusing almost exclusively on birth control and emergency contraception.

The backstory: For years in digital health, point solutions abounded. Apps for birth control, diabetes care, at-home testing and mental health all lived within narrow silos.

  • Those days are beginning to disappear as a wave of M&A sees digital health companies consolidating in the name of more comprehensive care.
  • "In the last few years, it was point solution overdrive," says Favor VP of market access Tom Roark. Following the Dobbs ruling, "we're taking a step back and saying we don't have to be everything for everyone, but where can we partner with other point solutions to be more end-to-end?"

Driving the news: When the Dobbs ruling was announced at the end of June, Favor was in the midst of becoming a more comprehensive virtual care company.

What they're saying: "We felt like this was a brand moment for us," Roark tells Axios.

How it works: The company has created a two-way referral network with abortion providers, including Hey Jane and Abortion Finder, where people seeking abortion help get referred to those providers and those seeking more basic contraception care get referred to Favor.

Yes, and: The company is still considering expanding into a number of areas, including at-home testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexual and fertility counseling — either via M&A or internal builds.

  • "There are a lot of directions we can go to go beyond birth control," says Roark. "The question is, are those things we want to build ourselves or things we want to partner with others in the space to do?"

What's next: Despite starting out with a direct-to-consumer focus, Favor is currently working with a number of organizations in a B2B fashion to be their birth control provider of choice.

  • It has also partnered with in-person providers in four states to be their exclusive birth control and telemedicine provider.
  • "If abortion is off the table in some states, we need to make sure people can at least access contraception to minimize the need for an abortion down the line," Roark says. "While this is frustrating and certainly not a moment we'd expect to be in in 2022, it's a moment for us as a company to lead," he adds.
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