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SAN FRANCISCO — In 2016, executives at the buzzy telemedicine startup Nurx spoke openly about their ambitions. By the following year, the company’s online services for birth control and the HIV prevention pill would be available in all 50 states.

That never happened. Today, Nurx operates in just 17 states and Washington, D.C.


Nurx is part of a new wave of businesses that have attracted lots of excitement and investment for an idea that seems intuitive: Allowing patients to use online forms and chat messages to quickly get prescription drugs to treat simple conditions like urinary tract infections, erectile dysfunction, and hair loss.

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