Ro Review: What to Know About This Online Health Service

Ro prioritizes fast shipping, free communication with providers, and—most importantly—easy at-home access to treatment for common health conditions.

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Young woman consulting with her doctor online

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Pros & Cons


  • Savings on OTC and prescription drugs
  • Free initial assessments
  • Unlimited follow-ups via message, phone call, or video
  • You can still use your own pharmacy (though pricing may be different)
  • A provider gets back to you within 24 hours
  • Prescriptions are shipped second-day air
  • At-home testing kits and consultations also available


  • Does not accept insurance (except for the weight-loss program)
  • You can’t use Ro if you haven’t seen a healthcare provider in three years
  • Does not replace a primary care provider
  • Some conditions require a pre-existing diagnosis to be treated through Ro
  • Online reviews suggest customer support services are poor

Skincare issues, sexual health conditions, and hair loss are some of the most common reasons people seek medical advice and treatment, but the old way of doing things—making an appointment, sitting in the waiting room, taking your prescription to your local pharmacy—can really slow the process down. When you know what you’re dealing with, you don’t want to leave the house every time you have a cold sore or eczema flare; you want to tell someone what’s up and get the medication you need to feel better from the comfort of your couch. 

Ro gets this; its business model is built on giving patients direct control over many health conditions, allowing them to discuss their medical concerns and questions with an online provider and get the prescription or OTC drugs they need in a matter of days. 

While many people are looking for ways to streamline their health care, it can still be a little scary to get diagnosed and treated without ever setting foot in a doctor’s office (or, in some cases, even seeing a provider via video chat). I wanted to take a closer look at what Ro offers and what types of patients are best served by its platform. So I dug deep into how it works, what drugs it can prescribe, and what the benefits are for patients with several different kinds of health conditions. I also looked at how Ro compares to other online pharmacies and talked to a Pharmacist about what consumers need to know before using Ro for their care.

What Is Ro?

Ro (which was initially called Roman but rebranded in 2018) is a direct-to-consumer telehealth platform that offers provider care, treatment plans, and medications for a select number of health conditions. By allowing patients to connect online with providers, Ro aims to make it easy for adults 18 and over to receive treatment at home for skin, hair loss, and sexual health conditions, as well as a few other health issues, including allergies and weight management.  

Ro was started in 2017 by three entrepreneurs as a way for people to receive erectile dysfunction treatment; one of the co-founders, Zachariah Reitano, experienced erectile dysfunction and wanted it to be easier for the 30 million American men who struggle with it to access treatment. The company has since expanded to treat fertility issues and other common health conditions, including hair loss and skincare concerns. 

Through Ro, you can access brand name and generic prescription drugs like Viagra, Cialis, hormonal birth control pills, and Ozempic, along with OTC drugs like minoxidil (generic Rogaine) and daily multivitamins. Ro also offers several at-home tests for fertility and pregnancy. Medications can be automatically refilled according to the treatment plan agreed upon by you and your provider.

For all that Ro offers, there are some limitations: You can’t have prescriptions from outside doctors transferred to Ro, and you need to be 18 or older to use the service. Ro also doesn’t accept insurance, and, while some medications might be eligible to be paid for with health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) funds, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket first and then submit your costs for reimbursement.

The rebranding and evolution of Ro in 2018 have also led to some confusion in its marketing; when I asked Erika Gray, PharmD, chief medical officer and co-founder of Toolbox Genomics, to take a look at the Ro website and share her professional thoughts, she had some concerns. 

“The fact that they are trying to promote themselves as a telehealth platform is not readily obvious, and that was not my initial impression [of the site," Gray said. “Additionally, it's hard to tell that they are also catering to women.”

What Services Does Ro Offer?

Ro can help you get treatment for several different health conditions, which all generally fall into the following categories:

  • Fertility
  • Skincare
  • Allergies
  • Smoking cessation
  • Weight management
  • Sexual health
  • Hair loss
  • Daily health (aka vitamin support)

For all of its services, you must first have an “appointment,” an initial assessment performed online via a series of questions. This is free and required for all patients seeking any kind of prescription medication. 

From there, you’ll follow up with an assigned provider via message, phone call, or video visit to decide on a treatment plan. 

Fertility Services

Ro providers can prescribe you one of 17 oral birth control pills. Typically, birth control pills contain a combination of progestin and estrogen to stop ovulation, though some pills only contain progestin. At this time, Ro doesn’t offer any other forms of birth control such as the patch, the ring, or the shot. 

Ro doesn’t specify what the 17 options for oral contraceptives are, but does note that on a quarterly plan, your pills will cost $19 per month, which appears to be less than the cost at many other telehealth platforms we reviewed. When you complete your online visit, a Ro provider will also screen out any pills that would be contraindicated based on your medical history and any recent pregnancies.

After your online visit, a Ro provider will look at your medical history to determine which pill might be best for you, taking into consideration your family planning needs as well as any other concerns, such as acne. Ro provides one month of pills free; it also includes one free dose of emergency contraception with every prescription. Your provider will also check in with you to see how you’re doing on your new prescription, and see if you need to switch to a different one.

As part of the fertility care services, you can also order at-home tests that measure common reproductive hormones and detect ovulation and pregnancy. The hormone test is a finger-prick blood sample collection that is sent off to Ro labs for evaluation, while the ovulation and pregnancy tests require a urine sample to be collected and read at home. The hormone test includes consultation with a fertility nurse in case you need more information or an explanation about your results. 

Skincare Services

If you have skin conditions such as eczema or excessive sweating, or want to improve the look of your eyelashes or eyelids, there are prescription options available through Ro. For general skincare concerns, a provider will recommend a treatment plan using a combination of moisturizer, cleanser, SPF lotion, and/or a customized skincare product designed for your individual needs. These treatments all fall under the category of “custom prescription treatment,” so you can’t receive any of them without completing the online visit through Ro. 

People with excessive sweating can talk to a Ro provider to get a prescription antiperspirant called Drysol, which blocks sweat glands; people who want longer eyelashes may be prescribed Latisse to grow stronger, darker lashes, while people who want to tighten drooping eyelids can get Upneeq, a solution that can temporarily lift the skin around the eyes. 

  • Prescription skincare costs $6 to $8 per month for non-customized products and $29 per month for custom treatment
  • Drysol costs $13 per month
  • Latisse costs $45 per month
  • Upneeq is priced at $5.50 per vial; you can pay $199 for a 30-vial supply or $495 for 90 vials

Weight Loss Services

Anyone wanting prescription drug assistance for weight loss can access Wegovy and Ozempic through the Ro platform. These drugs, which are weekly injections, work by slowing down digestion, which leaves you feeling full for longer.

There’s no pricing information listed for these medications on the Ro site because taking these drugs is part of its Body Program, which is the one service through Ro that does accept insurance. This program includes at-home metabolic testing, access to a weight loss coach, provider care, and help acquiring insurance coverage for the injections. The Body Program costs $99 for the first month and $135 for each month after that, but the price of the medications after insurance coverage is an additional, unlisted cost.

Not everyone is a candidate for these drugs; only Wegovy has been approved by the FDA for weight loss (Ozempic is approved for use in treating diabetes) and both carry risks relating to thyroid, pancreas, and kidney health.

Ro also offers a weight loss management tool called Plenity for $98 per month; this supplement absorbs a high volume of water in your stomach, making you feel full after eating less food at a meal. Plenity isn’t part of the Body Program, but it is FDA-approved for weight loss and is a good alternative for people who don’t want to use Wegovy or Ozempic. You can consult with a Ro provider if you’re interested in Plenity.

Sexual Health Services

Many patients use Ro to connect with providers and receive drugs for erectile dysfunction; you can be prescribed generic or brand name Viagra (sildenafil) or Cialis (tadalafil) in several doses ranging from 2.5 to 25 milligrams. Both drugs relax the muscles in the penis and allow for better blood flow during erections.

You can sign up for monthly or quarterly prescriptions and pricing for these medications varies; a 50mg tablet of generic Viagra costs $6, while a 50mg tablet of brand-name Viagra is $90. The cost difference between generic and brand-name Cialis is less—a 5mg tablet of generic Cialis is $11 and a brand-name tablet is $20.

In addition to erectile dysfunction treatments, Ro also offers treatments for vaginal dryness (a topical estradiol cream), hot flashes (two different antidepressants), genital herpes (generic Valtrex), testosterone support (a daily vitamin), and premature ejaculation (benzocaine numbing wipes). 

Some of these other services get lost in comparison to the erectile dysfunction services, an issue that Gray noticed when looking over the Ro site. “The first thing your eye sees is sexual health, which is going to cater to men over women, [and] as a woman, I found the website confusing,” Gray said. 

Hair Loss Services

You can treat symptoms of hair loss with two medications offered through Ro: generic Propecia (finasteride) and generic Rogaine (minoxidil). After your online visit and communication with a Ro provider, you may be prescribed one of these drugs or both in combination to reduce thinning and encourage hair growth. Ro says finasteride isn’t recommended for use in people with vaginas and minoxidil shouldn’t be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Topical minoxidil costs $16 per month through Ro, while the oral formulation costs $30 per month. Oral finasteride costs $20 per month, and there’s a combination option that lets you receive topical minoxidil and oral finasteride for $35 per month.

My research of other telehealth platforms suggests these are the two most commonly prescribed drugs for hair loss, and that the costs through Ro are similar to what you would pay through Bosley or Hims.

Daily Health Services

Ro’s daily health services include treatments for allergies, as well as medications that can help you stop smoking and vitamins that can relieve stress and balance your nutrients. Even though some of these drugs are available over the counter, you’ll still need to consult with a Ro provider if you want to receive them through Ro. 

  • Medications for allergies include Flonase, Xyzal, and Singulair. I found that these drugs aren’t sold at a discount through Ro; you can get them for the same price or less at local pharmacy chains. For example, generic Flonase is $29 per month via Ro but only $14 at CVS and $12 at Walgreens.
  • Smoking cessation treatment includes the antidepressant bupropion (commonly used to help people stop smoking) and/or nicotine gum. The first month of bupropion costs $18 and then increases to $45 per month, the first month of nicotine replacement therapy costs $30 and then increases to $42 per month, and the first month of the combination treatment (both drugs) costs $60 before increasing to $87 per month.
  • There are several multivitamin formulations available, including a prenatal vitamin and a stress relief supplement. Prices vary, but most supplements cost between $30 and $40 per month.

Mental Health Services

Ro’s mental health services are part of a program called Ro Mind, which helps you access anxiety and depression treatments through a video chat with a provider. After completing the usual Ro online assessment, you’ll be scheduled with a Ro provider and asked to discuss your medical history and symptoms. If you’re a candidate for medication, you may be prescribed certain antidepressants. (Ro doesn’t prescribe stimulants, opioids, or drugs like Xanax, FYI.) 

You’ll also be able to have regular check-ins with your provider, including as many as three virtual visits per month, plus unlimited messaging. Through Ro Mind, you can also access pre-recorded videos created by Ro providers on mental health topics.

Ro doesn’t specifically state which antidepressants it provides, though it says that the cost of medications and treatment via the Ro Mind program is $15 for the first month and $85 per month after that. 

How Do You Get a Prescription From Ro?

The first step is to complete an online visit, regardless of the reason you’re seeking care through Ro. You don’t have to make an appointment with a Ro prescriber; you simply initiate an online consultation, fill in your medical history and explain your symptoms or concerns, then wait 24 hours for a Ro provider to respond. If the provider agrees your health condition(s) can be treated through the platform, they will begin working with you on a treatment plan.

Communicating with your provider at this point can be done by messaging (through the secure Ro platform), phone call, or video visit. Ro doesn’t require video visits, but some states do, so you may need to complete one in order to be prescribed medication. All of your communication with your provider is available on demand, at no additional cost. 

If you and your provider agree on your treatment plan, you can move forward with getting any necessary prescriptions. You can get drugs directly from Ro at the cost noted on the website or take your chances with a local pharmacy. Ro says it is happy to send your prescriptions out to a pharmacy of your choice, but it can’t guarantee any pricing (and you’ll be subject to your pharmacy’s availability and hours). If you decide to receive your prescriptions from Ro, it will send them to you for free via second-day air. 

Customer Support

There’s not much in the way of Ro customer support in general; there’s a phone number you can call during business hours and an email address for 24/7 support, but the company doesn’t say what it can offer or how it resolves issues, complaints, or questions. That was concerning to me, and signals a lack of transparency: A company invested in its customers’ happiness should have multiple ways to get in touch and be upfront about how it will help you once you reach out. If all issues are directed to a single email address, how is Ro working to read, sort, and address those issues in a timely and appropriate way?

The lack of customer support may also point to an overall problem with Ro that Gray pointed out: Ro is more concerned with selling products, not services.

“I don't get the feeling Ro would provide meaningful care just based on what I read on the website,” she said. “I think it can provide decent care, but everything is centered around selling products to solve a problem.”

Similarly, Ro is a little light on support when it comes to its at-home testing kits, though the Modern Fertility Hormone Test does include the option to consult with a fertility nurse if you have questions.

Does Ro Take Insurance?

For the most part, no—Ro doesn’t accept any forms of insurance. The only exception I saw was through the weight management Body Program, which helps you use insurance coverage to access Wegovy and Ozempic. 

To offset the fact that insurance coverage isn’t an option in most cases, Ro usually sticks to generic drugs to keep costs low. In my research, though, I found that most drugs cost as much through Ro as they would if you were paying out-of-pocket for them at a pharmacy using a prescription savings card or similar discount program. This made me struggle to see the benefit of Ro, other than not having to leave your house to see a doctor—but with many providers performing telehealth appointments post-pandemic, even that benefit loses a little of its impact.

Some of the prescriptions you receive might be eligible for FSA/HSA reimbursement, like oral contraceptives, but you can’t pay for these medications with your card or account directly; you have to pay out-of-pocket and then process a reimbursement through your insurance company. That’s another step for the patient and an additional deterrent to using Ro. 

Does Ro Offer Discounts?

With the exception of the Body Program, I didn’t notice any discounts offered by Ro (the Body Program is $36 less for the first month than subsequent months). Some prescriptions may be slightly cheaper per month if you pay for several months at a time, like purchasing a three-month supply of multivitamins instead of a month-to-month supply.

Privacy Policies at Ro

Ro appears to have a standard privacy policy, which includes a secure platform designed to follow privacy laws and keep your information protected. Its privacy page outlines all of this in fairly clear terms, but I was a little bothered by the lack of assurance that Ro is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If it is, it should state this in the policy, and if it’s not, I don’t know that I would personally trust the company to keep my health information secure and private.

Additionally, there are the usual disclosures about sharing your information with health providers and service providers, but Ro also says that it may share your email address with third-party advertisers, too, if you signed up after October 21, 2021 (when it updated its privacy policy).

Customer Satisfaction

Reviews of Ro on popular business sites like Trustpilot and BBB raise some red flags about the services at Ro. The most common complaints seem to revolve around paying for prescriptions and then not receiving them in a timely manner (or, in some cases, at all). 

On Trustpilot, the number of five-star reviews is about equal to one-star reviews, with almost nothing in between; this may indicate that some of the five-star and/or one-star reviews are not authentic. The complaints on BBB mention prescriptions not being received after being ordered and general difficulties with getting any type of customer support when there are billing or prescription errors. 

Compared to other telehealth sites, the services are similar, but the focus at Ro seems to be more on its prescription drugs and less on its usefulness as a telehealth platform. 

“[Ro is] very product-focused, versus other telehealth platforms that are service- or condition-focused,” Gray said. “ If they are portraying themselves as a telehealth platform, that needs to be front and center.”

Competitor Comparisons

Ro stands out from its competitors for its affordable prices for many generic prescriptions and easy access to providers for common health conditions, like erectile dysfunction, acne, and hair loss. Initial assessments and follow-ups with providers are free, at-home testing is simplified with the Ro app, and prescriptions are shipped directly to you in about two days.

Here’s how each service it offers stacks up against the competition.

Hair Loss Services

Company Cost Rx Required Medical Consultation Available? 
Ro  $16-$35/month  Yes Yes
Bosley $25-$55/month Yes  Yes 
Hims $11-$65/month Yes Yes
Nurx/Keeps  $11-$40/month Yes  Yes 

Sexual Health/Fertility Services

Company Cost Types of services available Emergency Contraception Available? Accepts Insurance?
Ro $6-$19/pill or month ED, birth control Yes No
Nurx $25/month Birth control Yes Yes
Lemonaid Health $2-$25/pill or month ED, birth control Yes No 
Sesame $5-$10/pill or month ED, birth control Yes Depends on prescription

Skincare Services

Company Cost Treatment Areas Medical Consultation Available?
Ro $12-$58/month General skincare, eczema, excessive sweating Yes
Nurx $20-$30/
Acne, anti-aging, melasma, rosacea Yes
Wisp $87 for 90-day supply Acne, anti-aging, melasma Yes
Hers Starts at $15 Acne, anti-aging Yes

Weight Loss Services

Company Cost  Accept Insurance?  Medical Consultation Available?
Ro $98-$135/
Yes Yes
Sesame Starts at $250 per refill Yes Yes
PlushCare $30-$129 per visit Yes Yes
K Health $49/month (with membership) Yes Yes

Final Thoughts

On the surface, using Ro appears to be an easy way to get prescription drugs for known health conditions, such as erectile dysfunction or hair loss, as well as to keep up with ongoing prescriptions for things like birth control, allergies, and skincare. I liked that it’s intuitive (and free) to complete an initial visit online and connect with a provider. 

The main downside to Ro is the lack of insurance coverage; if you have a decent insurance plan that covers the cost of these drugs, the only benefit to using Ro is the fact that you can get prescriptions without an in-person office visit. Otherwise, why would you pay out-of-pocket for them, or jump through the hoops of filing for HSA or FSA reimbursement? 

I was also concerned by the number of bad reviews posted to sites like Trustpilot and BBB, especially since my own research showed there were not many ways to get in touch with customer support at Ro. I always take online reviews with a grain of salt, but they did seem to echo my own initial concerns about company-customer communication.

If you don’t have insurance and are looking for a cheap and simple way to get the prescriptions you need for your more common health conditions, I think Ro could be a good choice. But the platform isn’t the best way to troubleshoot confusing symptoms or get care for more specialized conditions. If you do have insurance—or if your health concerns are undiagnosed, specialized, or otherwise complex—there’s probably a better option out there.  

Why Trust Us

We looked through nearly every page of Ro’s website to find what conditions it treats, what medications its providers can prescribe, and what the potential issues could be when signing up for its online telehealth services. We interviewed a PharmMD to get her thoughts on Ro’s platform and checked third-party review sites for unbiased experiences. We scoured reviews of the company to get a sense of how users feel about its services. Finally, we compared Ro to our database of online pharmacies and telehealth services to see how the medications it prescribes and its overall pricing sync up with competitors.

Edited by
Ally Hirschlag
Ally is a senior editor for Verywell, who covers topics in the health, wellness, and lifestyle spaces. She has written for The Washington Post, The Guardian, BBC Future, and more.
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