Nurx Review: Overpriced Healthcare From Home?

Nurx Review: Overpriced Healthcare From Home?

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Nurx is an online healthcare service that provides 24/7 access to doctors and prescription medication with or without insurance. The company sells both generic and brand-name versions of medication, and describes their service as "Healthcare from Home."

But how does the cost of prescription medication on Nurx compare to other online pharmacies? What about the cost of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs? How do real users rate Nurx? And was the brand really storing birth control medications in a closet?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we compare the prices of prescription medication on Nurx with Cost Plus Drugs (Mark Cuban's low-cost drug venture).

We'll also compare the prices of OTC drugs on Nurx with the prices on Amazon, feature real Nurx user reviews, and highlight a New York Times piece that exposed some damning information about how Nurx was allegedly storing medication when the brand first launched.

Are Nurx Prescriptions Overpriced?

Cost Plus Drugs has the cheapest prescription drug prices of any online pharmacy that we've reviewed.

The brand has a transparent pricing model: customers are charged a 15% premium above manufacturing cost, which results much cheaper retail drug prices than competitors. 

Below is a price comparison for a few randomly-selected drugs available on both Nurx and CostPlusDrugs:

Venlafaxine (antidepressant)

  • Nurx: $25
  • Cost Plus: $6.20

Sertraline (antidepressant)

  • Nurx: $25
  • Cost Plus: $6.20

Buspirone (anti-anxiety)

  • Nurx: $25
  • Cost Plus: $5.60

    Topiramate (anticonvulsant)

    • Nurx: $15
    • Cost Plus: $5.90

    Clearly, Cost Plus Drugs offers vastly superior prescription medication prices to patients without insurance than Nurx, and this is even before considering the monthly fees associated with some drugs on Nurx.

    As an example, Nurx depression treatment costs $59 per month for an initial consultation and $69 per month for ongoing medication management. This is in addition to the cost of any individual drug.

    This may be a better option for some patients, because it includes unlimited messaging with Nurx's medical team, but on a purely cost basis it’s clear that Cost Plus Drugs is the better option for uninsured patients.

    It is worth noting that many Nurx drugs are free or heavily discounted for patients with health insurance. 

    All of the above-listed medications are free on Nurx with health insurance, so the platform may be a better option for patients with health insurance than Cost Plus Drugs, depending on the individual drug and plan.

    Was Nurx Storing Drugs in Closets?

    Nurx was the subject of an exposé published by the New York Times in 2019.

    Because the article is behind a paywall, we’ll summarize some of the most interesting insights.

    A customer service employee alleges that Nurx was storing birth control medications in potentially unsafe conditions: 

    “When Matt Cronin worked in customer service at Nurx, a San Francisco start-up that sells prescription drugs online, one of his jobs was to manage the office’s inventory of birth control pills. 

    The pills were kept in the pockets of a shoe organizer hanging inside a closet, Mr. Cronin said.

    They had been shipped to Nurx customers from its partner pharmacies, but ended up at the office when they bounced back in the mail.

    His supervisors regularly assigned him to mail those same medications to different Nurx customers who had not received their pills, he said.”

    The New York Times report also claims that Nurx executives were pressuring the company’s former medical director to loosen prescribing guidelines in circumstances where there exist federally-mandated warnings due to health risks:

    “Nurx executives were also trying to loosen prescribing standards, said Dr. Knox. Last year, she said, Mr. Czaja and Mr. Gangeskar asked her to revise a Nurx policy that advised its doctors not to prescribe birth control with estrogen to women 35 and older who smoked. 

    Mr. Czaja said he and other executives wanted to leave the decision to women after informing them of the heightened risks.

    Birth control pills with estrogen carry a federally mandated warning cautioning against their use in women 35 and older who smoke. 

    Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also say the risks of prescribing to these women, which include stroke and heart attack, ‘usually outweigh the advantages.’”

    We consider these two anecdotes to be potential red flags about a company culture that may not prioritize patient health and safety.

    We hope that if these reports are true, Nurx has since updated their internal policies.

    Nurx vs. Competitors on BC

    A YouTube video with over 400,000 views published by a channel called "As/Is" compared Nurx to two other popular online birth control medication providers.

    The reviewer compared the price, shipping time and convenience of all three services:

    Are Nurx OTC Drugs Overpriced?

    Nurx sells a number of OTC drugs and tests on their website which don't require a doctor's prescription.

    Below is a price comparison for a one-time purchase of several randomly-selected OTC products sold on Nurx compared with their prices on Amazon at the time of updating this article:

    CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

    • Nurx: $19.99 (plus shipping)
    • Amazon: $17.78 (free shipping)

      Differin Body Scrub

      • Nurx: $8.49 (plus shipping)
      • Amazon: $8.49 (free shipping)

      Abreva Cold Sore Treatment (0.07 ounce)

      • Nurx: $25 (plus shipping)
      • Amazon: $15.15 (free shipping)

      Based on our analysis, it appears to be more cost-effective to price shop OTC drugs on Amazon than on Nurx.

      Amazon also offers free shipping depending on customer plan, while Nurx charges for shipping on orders under $30.

      Customers Rate Nurx

      Nurx currently has a rating of 1.55 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website with over 600 reviews.

      The reviews are overwhelmingly negative, and many reference issues with overbilling and poor customer service.

      Here's a review from an unhappy BBB user named "MARY A" who gave the company a 1/5 star rating:

      "NURX is a total rip-off! Do not give your credit card information or any personal information to this company. They have false advertising that they will prescribe medications at 1/3 the cost you are currently paying, and instead charge you...more than you are already paying at your pharmacy. Also, their customer service is deceiving and extremely slow."

      In defense of Nurx, most customer reviews of any company on the BBB page are negative, and the brand is responding to and trying to resolve the majority of the complaints, which is a good sign.

      Nurx Pros and Cons

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


      • Convenient
      • Affordable for patients with health insurance
      • Many medication options
      • Also sells OTC drugs
      • Birth control accessibility


      • Questionable business practices when first launched according to NYT piece
      • OTC drugs more expensive than Amazon
      • Prescription drug retail prices higher than Cost Plus Drugs
      Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


      Nurx may be a good online healthcare option for patients with health insurance, because many of the medications they sell are available at no cost for insured patients.

      Some medications, however, require a monthly fee and initial consultation with a doctor.

      For patients without health insurance, we recommend Cost Plus Drugs over Nurx, because the retail price of every drug we randomly selected was cheaper on Cost Plus Drugs.

      For consumers seeking OTC tests or drugs, we recommend checking Amazon before Nurx, as Amazon seems to have better prices on OTC medications.

      The New York Times published an exposé about Nurx which detailed some concerning allegations, including that at one point the company was storing birth control medication in the pockets of a shoe organizer in a closet.