Digital health platform Truepill on Wednesday announced plans for a virtual care offering aimed at providing telehealth appointments and antiviral drugs for COVID-19.
The platform, which Truepill said will launch in the coming weeks, will include a patient portal to log COVID-19 test results and symptoms, telehealth consultations, antiviral medication prescriptions and overnight drug delivery or routing to a patient’s local pharmacy. The company also plans to add follow-up visits via telehealth early next year.
“The emergency use authorization of an oral antiviral to treat COVID-19 has the potential to significantly reduce the devastating impacts of the pandemic,” said Andy Rink, senior vice president of telehealth at Truepill, in a statement.
“In order for this medication to reach its full potential and effectively minimize deaths and hospitalizations, there needs to be a system in place for rapid, mass distribution to impacted populations.
“Truepill’s COVID-19 virtual care platform tackles this challenge head-on by combining all necessary steps into a single, comprehensive platform: reporting symptoms, confirming a positive test result, obtaining a prescription and receiving medication, all within 24-48 hours. We’re amazed by the pace at which COVID-19 care advancements have been made, and are thrilled to launch this platform and help mitigate the toll of COVID-19.”
WHY IT MATTERS
Truepill’s planned COVID-19 care platform comes a day after FDA advisers narrowly recommended authorizing the first antiviral pill to prevent high-risk people from developing severe illness. Though the FDA isn’t required to follow these recommendations, it usually does.
The pill, called molnupiravir and developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, would be the first oral antiviral for COVID-19 that could be taken at home, but a second medication from Pfizer is also being considered for emergency use authorization.
Though molnupiravir was ultimately recommended, the vote was close, with 13 advisers voting for recommendation, and 10 against. There were questions about the drug’s effectiveness and safety for pregnant patients, as well as concerns it could contribute to more dangerous virus variants.
“This was clearly a very difficult decision,” Dr. Michael Green, professor of pediatrics, surgery and clinical and translational science at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said in voting yes.
THE LARGER TREND
This isn’t Truepill’s first offering geared toward COVID-19. In March, the digital health company rolled out a suite of testing, virtual care and contact-tracing tools geared toward employers bringing their employees back to worksites.
In late October, Truepill announced it had raised $142 million in Series D financing, bringing its valuation to $1.6 billion.
Virtual care and telehealth has been a hot topic in healthcare. Cue Health, best known for its at-home COVID-19 molecular test, launched its own virtual health platform last month. Other players in the space include Teladoc Health, eVisit and TytoCare.
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