Lemonaid Health Review: Are They Price Gouging?

Lemonaid Health Review: Are They Price Gouging?


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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to prescription medication.

Lemonaid Health is one of the largest telemedicine providers in the U.S. The company describes their service as "personalized healthcare," and sells everything from prescription medications to blood tests. 

But is Lemonaid overpriced? How does the cost of prescription drugs on Lemonaid compare to the cost of the same drug at other online pharmacies? What do real patients have to say about their experience using Lemonaid? And does the company's recent acquisition by 23andMe put customers' data in danger?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we compare the price of the same drug on Lemonaid Health to Cost Plus Drugs, which we analyzed in the linked review and found to be the cheapest online pharmacy we had reviewed to date.

We'll compare the prices between Lemonaid Health and Cost Plus Drugs in various categories: anxiety meds, ED meds, reproductive health meds and hair loss meds. 

We'll also feature real, unsponsored Lemonaid Health patient reviews and share our thoughts on how the recent acquisition of the brand by 23andMe may pose data security concerns.

Anxiety Meds Cost Comparison

Anxiety is one of the most commonly-diagnosed conditions in the U.S. and there are many prescription drugs used to treat it.

Here's a monthly cost comparison between the two online pharmacies (excluding Lemonaid’s first-month promotional discount):

Lexapro
  • Lemonaid: $95
  • Cost Plus Drugs: $4.50 (link)
Zoloft
  • Lemonaid: $95
  • Cost Plus Drugs: $4.20 (link)
Wellbutrin
  • Lemonaid: $95
  • Cost Plus Drugs: $4.80 (link)
Prozac
  • Lemonaid: $95
  • Cost Plus Drugs: $4.20 (link)

Verdict: Cost Plus Drugs is significantly (around 95%) cheaper

ED Meds Cost Comparison

Below is a monthly price comparison for some of the most popular erectile dysfunction (ED) meds. Lemonaid Health charges per-pill in this category, so we're multiplying their cheapest price by 30 to extrapolate for a month's worth of use:

Viagra
  • Lemonaid: $60
  • Cost Plus Drugs: $4.80 (link)
Cialis
  • Lemonaid: $60
  • Cost Plus Drugs: $6.60 (link)

Verdict: Cost Plus Drugs is significantly (around 90%) cheaper 

Before continuing to the other price comparison sections, we will feature a few real user reviews of the service in the next section.

Real, Unsponsored Lemonaid User Reviews

A YouTube creator named "Sunflower Kid" shared a positive experience they had getting antidepressant medication in a video that appears unsponsored:

A TikTok creator named Mary Katherine shared a similar story about how Lemonaid Health helped her access medication conveniently when it was hard to schedule an appointment with doctors:

@iamkeighpower

Hopefully this helps someone. The company is Lemonaid Health/23andMe.

♬ original sound - Mary Katherine

Reproductive Health Meds Cost Comparison

Below is a monthly cost comparison between the same reproductive health medications sold by the two online pharmacies:

Sprintec (birth control)
  • Lemonaid: $40 ($25 consultation + $15/pack)
  • Cost Plus Drugs: $5.36 (link)
Zovirax (herpes)
  • Lemonaid: $16.67
  • Cost Plus Drugs: $5.70 (link)

Verdict: Cost Plus Drugs is significantly (around 66%) cheaper

Hair Loss Meds Cost Comparison

Finasteride is the only hair loss medication sold by Lemonaid Health at the time of updating this article.

As we documented in our Keeps reviews article on a hair loss brand selling this same medication, the 1 milligram (mg) dose sold by Lemonaid is FDA-approved and clinically shown to increase hair growth.

Below is a cost comparison for a 3-month supply (excluding Lemonaid's first delivery promotional discount):

Finasteride

  • Lemonaid: $85 ($25 consultation + $60 medication price)
  • Cost Plus Drugs: $13.50 (link)

Verdict: Cost Plus Drugs is significantly (84% cheaper)

Should Patients Be Concerned About Lemonaid's Acquisition?

In 2021, genetic healthcare brand 23andMe acquired Lemonaid for $400 million according to Reuters.

23andMe is a company that has had its share of public legal and ethical scrutiny.

A Bloomberg exposé shared some concerning evidence that the CEO of 23andMe may plan to use customer genetic data to formulate new drugs, or engage in commercial partnerships towards this goal.

23andMe has been sued in a class-action lawsuit which alleges that the brand misled customers and that their tests had no real health value.

Overall, we believe that patients of 23andMe and Lemonaid Health may benefit from being very cautious about their data security settings on each platform and how much they choose to share.

The risk of data breaches may be higher with one centralized with one company processing both healthcare and genetic data, potentially from the same customer in some cases. 

In testing the Lemonaid Health site we also noted some strange prompts, such as the one shown below:

Lemonaid Health questionable data collection prompt

We don't understand why the company needs a potential customer's live photo and government documents to view birth control prices, and find this prompt concerning.

Cost Plus Drugs does not require this type of information for medication orders on their site.

Pros and Cons of Lemonaid Health

Here are the pros and cons of Lemonaid in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Wide selection of drugs makes the platform convenient
  • Add-on services like unlimited messaging with healthcare providers
  • May be especially useful in emergency cases
  • Can provide access to reproductive health services if local services fail
Cons:
  • Acquired by company with questionable business ethics
  • Vastly higher prices for same drugs compared to Cost Plus Drugs
  • Questionable data collection practices
  • Unclear what sets brand apart from any other online pharmacy
  • Pricing less transparent since initial publication of this article
  • Does not accept insurance
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

We cannot identify any criteria where Lemonaid Health outperforms other online pharmacies.

On price alone, the platform dramatically underperforms Cost Plus Drugs, where medications are sometimes 95% cheaper than on Lemonaid.

Lemonaid does offer some add-on services like unlimited messaging to healthcare providers that Cost Plus Drugs doesn't, but many other online pharmacies offer similar add-on services.

Lemonaid Health does not currently accept health insurance, which is another negative compared to some online health platforms (like Brightside) that do.

This health platform was recently acquired by a genetic health company called 23andMe which has a questionable legal and ethical background. This, combined with the fact that Lemonaid seems to require unnecessary user inputs like live photos and government documents, concern us somewhat about the brand's data practices.

One pro that patients who tried Lemonaid consistently reported was its convenience. Customer service appears to be efficient, and for patients who cannot make a timely appointment with a local doctor to get the medications they need, Lemonaid may be a worthwhile option.