The pandemic has caused many businesses to innovate, ushering in a new era of home delivery options.
That now includes birth control medication.
Pandia Health was started by Dr. Sophia Yen, Perla Ni, and Elliot Blat, with the mission of providing people with uteruses simple birth-control delivery and consultation options, all from the comfort of their own home. The service is now available in Michigan.
The mission of Pandia Health is simple: make birth control accessible and reduce what's known as "pill anxiety" — the anxiety that comes with renewing a prescription or talking to the doctor about renewal.
"Pandia Health came up with the idea about seven years ago when I was giving a talk to a bunch of doctors.," says Dr. Yen, a clinical associate professor at Stanford. "I teach other doctors how to prescribe birth control, and I have a passion for preventing unplanned pregnancy. And we were talking [at] an academic talk, what are the top three reasons women don't take their birth control? One of them was they didn't have it in their hands."
Dr. Yen calls Pandia the "end-to-end solution for birth control." If someone already has an active birth-control prescription, they can send it to Pandia and get free delivery of birth-control medication. If they need a prescription, they can fill out a health form for $20, and a doctor will review it and write a prescription for free delivery. The medication is free with insurance, or $15 per pack without.
Pandia also offers a $20 a year doctor service that allows customers to use their network of doctors for that flat yearly fee, though it's not to be submitted for in-person appointments and check-ups with an OB-GYN or a primary-care doctor.
"To use our telemedicine, all you do is pay us 20 bucks once a year, and then you have an entire year's access to our expert physicians," Yen says. "It's asynchronous, so 24/7 from wherever you have the internet — this could be in your bathroom, at the library, at work, at home, or wherever I asked you the same questions I'd ask you if you came into my office."
Pandia will send reminders two months and one month before the prescription runs out.
"Set it, and forget it, never run out of birth control," Yen says.
Pandia isn't just a singular focus though. Along with the birth control, Pandia sends out mini sexual wellness packages with each order, featuring Hi-Chew candy, lube, condoms, and coupons for the Lioness, one of the most sophisticated vibrators out there.
Pandia also strives to educate the masses on the benefits of birth control aside from just controlling birth, including decreasing the cause of anemia caused by menstruation. Birth-control medication can also provide hormonal stability.
"Going up and down, and up and down every single month is actually not good for asthma, depression, arthritis, diabetes, and seizures," Yen says. "And you could imagine why, because with diabetes and seizures, you want to have the same hormone level. But if your hormones are going up and down, up and down every month, do you make that uterine lining up and down, up and down, up and down? It's not good for those diseases that need a stable hormonal level."
Along with choosing the right birth control, anxiety over infertility caused by long-term use is still a fear for many, but Yen says that FDA-approved birth control does not cause long-term infertility. Yen also has a YouTube channel that helps answer questions about sexual health and birth control, and Pandia hosts Facebook livestreams at 8 p.m. on Tuesday nights, where viewers can ask questions and have direct conversations with Dr. Yen.
To highlight the importance of a women-led, doctor-led telehealth institution, Pandia is named after the goddess of healing, light, and the full moon.
"We purposely chose it because we are about making women's lives better," Yen says. "We are about empowering women, women's power. And I think it's also fate. I made up the definition: 'Pan' is every, 'dia' is day."
Yen says she hopes Pandia will form relationships with patients that will last for a long time.
"We want to be your friend from your first period throughout your entire lifetime," Yen says.
More information is available at pandiahealth.com.