For now, Lou Scerbo and Ryan Lombardi are entering the online telepharmacy business with an initial focus on one sort of treatment — for erectile dysfunction.
“I was going to develop an online prescription site and eventual telemedicine site,” Scerbo said. “The easiest entrance is through ED medication, because of the privacy issues and the ego issues that males have to deal with.”
Scerbo, a pharmacist in Clymer, has owned the domain “MyEDmeds.com” for three years. He needed someone who understood social media and how the Internet works, and last year he met Lombardi.
Lombardi, a 2014 Indiana University of Pennsylvania graduate from Johnstown, runs MuscleMan Media, an agency whose purpose is to “use the power of the Internet” to help clients reach customers they once were missing.
The idea is to provide a site where a man could have a doctor visit, get a prescription for sildenafil (the generic name for Viagra) or tadalafil (the generic name for Cialis), and have it shipped to him, all in about one hour.
“Our (myedmeds.com) site is live in Pennsylvania and Florida,” Scerbo said. “As of next week we plan to add teleconference and telescheduling. We’re hoping to have everything in place by Jan. 1.”
It’s one type of medical treatment, for now, but as Lombardi said, “there’s been a lot of intricate detail” to go into that.
“We’ve been beta testing up until now,” Lombardi said from an office near the IndianaCountyJimmyStewartAirport.
“An online doctor visit is $20 (less than most co-pays),” according to the MyEDmeds.com website, “plus the cost of your medication (if prescribed). You can pay through our secure platform using a credit or debit card.”
And you can talk to that physician.
“After completing a brief online questionnaire, a physician will review your responses and if additional information is needed, you will be contacted,” the website said. “You may contact the physician at any time via chat within our patient portal.”
And, the website stressed, “our top priority is the security and privacy of your information.”
As Scerbo noted, “we are required by law to be HIPAA-compliant,” referring to the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
There’s a lot of Indiana involvement. InnovaScript, a mail-order subsidiary of Diamond Pharmacy Services, is contracted as prescription fulfillment company for Scerbo and Lombardi’s venture.
“We hope to make them so busy they have to hire people,” Scerbo said.
“There are eight of us on the team … and at least four different local organizations,” Lombardi said.
They include a student intern from Indiana who attends WaynesburgUniversity and a graphic designer from Indiana.
“We engaged two local software companies to help,” Scerbo said. They are Penna Software of Greensburg and Hopkins Software of Commodore.
Together they reached out for investors doing business as mymeds.com (Scerbo registered that as the company name — he’s now negotiating obtaining that as a domain, too).
They have 23 investors, all with some tie to Indiana, though their hometowns range from Hilton Head Island, S.C., to Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Even that hasn’t been easy for Scerbo and Lombardi, who closed their prospectus for investors on March 8 — five days before the world closed down, for all intents and purposes, because of COVID-19.
“That slowed us down by two to three months,” Scerbo said.
They’ve had a lot to line up, including a national network of licensed providers — because, regardless of what a particular state requires, it still comes down to needing a prescription.
For what it’s worth, InnovaScript is licensed for mail order in 49 states.
Lombardi met Scerbo through a former Indiana University of Pennsylvania football teammate of Scerbo’s.
That was, in turn, two months after an encounter between Scerbo and that teammate at “Guys Night Out with Clint Hurdle” in December 2018 at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.
“Our first meeting was at Al Patti’s bar,” Scerbo recalled. “We created a business partnership within two weeks.”
The partnership is about to try its first Facebook marketing attempt.
After that, marketing could take on such ventures as tie-ins with nonprofits that could benefit, such as volunteer fire departments or veterans’ organizations, where the partnership could be a sponsor and provide the nonprofit with a portion of the proceeds.
Ultimately, as the website puts it, “we want to make myEDmeds the solution of choice for all adult men who experience erectile dysfunction and prefer not to visit their physician or pharmacy in person.”