Roman: Why This Startup is Tackling Erectile Dysfunction

Thursday February 8, 2018

It's the elephant in the room: erectile dysfunction (ED). Throughout history, men (gay, straight and everyone in between) have often boasted of their sexual prowess as a means of amplifying their self-worth. And while psychologists could spend years unearthing this deeply embedded connection to sexual performance, often there are underlying medical issues that can affect one's ability to have and maintain an erection.

ED is not merely an issue facing baby boomers and beyond; it's a condition that affects 30 million men nationwide, many of whom may have no idea that what's going on (or not going on) down below can be symptomatic of what's going on above.

Such was the case with Roman co-founder and CEO Zachariah Reitano. Launched in the fall of 2017, Roman is the first end-to-end service for men's health and provides everything from online diagnosis to medication delivery for ED.

Reitano's experience dates back to when he was a teenager and experienced erectile dysfunction at 17. Fortunately, his father was a physician and sexual health expert, so broaching the subject was more comfortable than most might experience with their parents. His father was immediately concerned. The next time the pair was exercising together, his father took his pulse and felt that a stress test was in order. During the test, Reitano's heart stopped and he collapsed to the floor - what followed was an ablation procedure to repair an abnormal heart rhythm.

In an unwelcome twist of fate, Reitano's heart medication had one side effect: ED. Fortunately, with careful monitoring and transparent dialogue, he's been simultaneously able to monitor his heart health and his sexual health. But this is often a rarity for men. In discussions with his co-founders, Rob Schutz and Saman Rahmanian, the trio anecdotally determined that they didn't rank too high in self-care. Their research further revealed that on average men die five years earlier than women and visit the doctor half as frequently.

And while an overhaul of society's approach to men's health, one step at a time seemed like a valuable and much-needed resource.

"On average, men die 5 years earlier and visit the doctor half as frequently as women," says Reitano. "The sad part is how big a part 'machismo' plays for this discrepancy. Most of us grew up with the "rub some dirt on it" approach. With Roman, we've built a way for guys to start that conversation with a doctor - seamlessly and discreetly and start them on a path to improving their overall health."

Reitano describes ED (and diminished erections) as a "car's check engine light" for overall health. Key factors all work together for the body to produce an erection, including hormonal release and a well-functioning nervous system. ED can be a sign of diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, or depression. More than 50 percent of men experience some form of ED but only a fraction explore treatment options, and those who have previously purchased online are often delivered counterfeit drugs that are laced with everything from floor wax to paint.

Roman has become an industry game changer in two essential ways. The platform increases access by reducing the barriers to treatment and lowering the cost of medication. It also creates a physician bond, which is a stepping stone toward more comprehensive healthcare.

How It Works

Roman's six-step plan looks at the big picture with six steps to address patient needs and concerns:

1. Select Your Medication Preference
Roman offers Viagra (as well as a generic version), Cialis and Levitra - each has its benefits and should be carefully considered.

2. Five-Minute Online Visit
A convenient assessment of your medical history, sexual health, current medications, allergies and symptoms.

3. Photo and ID
Identity verification is an important step in Roman's best practices.

4. U.S. Licensed Physician Review
This will determine if ED medication is safe and appropriate.

5. Free Meds Delivery
If appropriate, the Roman Pharmacy Network will ship your medication in discreet packaging and refill automatically monthly or quarterly. Pharmacy pick-up is also an option.

6. Member Support
Call or chat with your physician, pharmacist or medical professional at any time.

Roman is also invested in the bigger picture. Other resources available include personalized treatment plans, ordering blood tests to explore potential underlying causes and forwarding information to other healthcare providers to maintain a comprehensive assessment. Roman also provides a $20 credit towards future Roman services if a member shows proof of visiting a doctor in person.

Exploring and treating ED is a personal decision. Fortunately, with Roman now on the scene, you don't have to make it alone.

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