17 October 2018 Social Media Post: Back to Back Commercial on Two Medical App

Those of you that watched last night Dodgers/Brewers game may have noticed back to back commercials for two medical apps directed at a clear target audience. The fact that they were juxtaposed made it all the more obvious and somewhat ironic. The first advertisement was for “Roman”, an online service to address erectile dysfunction. In their own words, “Roman is a full-stack men’s health company, providing online diagnosis and discreet shipping of safe, legal ED medication.” I’m not sure what ‘full-stack’ means but it sounds ominous. This was immediately followed by an ad for “Keeps” directed at male hair loss. Keeps self describes as “the easiest way to keep your hair. Get a doctor consultation and personalized treatment plan consisting of the only FDA-approved hair loss treatments.” There’s not any secret to Keeps, it is Finasteride and Rogaine which is how male pattern baldness is typically approached.
The Roman ad states that “although 52 percent of men experience erectile dysfunction, it’s safe to say that zero percent like talking about it.” The 52% number comes from a the Massachusetts Male Aging Study which was published last century – in 1994!. A more recent study has suggested that the overall prevalence of erectile dysfunction in men aged 20 years and older was 18.4% making the Roman messaging a bit misleading. In this more recent study, erectile dysfunction was highly associated with increasing age but was also particularly high among men with cardiovascular risk factors, hypertension, obesity, smoking, diabetes and coronary artery disease. Here’s the problem with Roman’s statement – by suggesting to men that they not talk about ED, they are also encouraging men to not discuss the underlying health processes that far more likely have contributed to their difficulties. ED can be a sign of underlying cardiovascular risk sometimes appearing as many as five years before a diagnosis of heart problems. This seems like a missed opportunity to promote mens’ health and wellness.
Another irony of the juxtaposition of Keeps with the Roman ad is that a known potential side effect of Finasteride is erectile dysfunction. Keeps, to their credit, does acknowledge this risk on their website saying, “Though rare, in clinical trials, 3.8% of patients noticed some form of sexual side effects.” Maybe Keeps and Roman have some sort of co-marketing agreement.
Both Roman and Keeps do connect patients to a licensed doctor. I’m hopeful that these physicians would be able to identify patients with metabolic and cardiac risks that should prompt more detailed evaluation.

𝗦𝗢𝗴𝗻 𝗨𝗽 𝗳𝗼𝗿 π—’π˜‚π—Ώ π—‘π—²π˜„π˜€π—Ήπ—²π˜π˜π—²π—Ώ

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