Startups Are Selling You Pills Through Instagram. Why Don’t They Say Which Ones?

by MR Magazine Staff

Breezing through my Instagram feed, a robin’s egg-hued post catches my eye. I swipe through the slides of the sponsored post, reading customer testimonial after customer testimonial about some sort of life-changing treatment — the specifics of which have been omitted. “My quality of life is 100% improved,” one user says. “Longest time in my life I have been migraine free!” claims another. What I can infer is that these customers are victims of chronic migraines, just like I am. I tap “learn more” and find myself on the landing page for Cove, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) health care company that has staff doctors diagnose these debilitating headaches and then prescribes and delivers prescriptions to patients. It takes a few taps on my screen, from the sponsored Instagram post to Cove’s website, before I might learn how Cove achieved such positive results: The company sells a mix of medications, such as prescription-strength naproxen, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug sold under the brand name Aleve when purchased over the counter as well as beta-blockers, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. Actual drug information — warnings, side effects, and benefits — can also be found on its website, after clicking “Learn More” next to each product’s name. Read more at Vox.