Mark Cuban is known and loved for many things, and this week he’s adding “cheap drugs” to the list.
Cuban just launched an online pharmacy that promises cheaper drugs by cutting out industry middlemen and charging manufacturer prices, plus a flat 15% markup and pharmacist fee.
Let’s get one thing out of the way — yes, this is so American. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that around 3 in 10 Americans say they haven’t taken their medications as prescribed due to concerns about cost. To our global community: You might not benefit from much from the Mark Cuban CostPlus Drug Company (MCCPDC), but you can still join the conversation.
“Amazed that this wasn't already done in the US. It's going to be a lifesaver.” Rohit Agarwal
“It is incredibly sad for Americans that this is even remotely necessary and I'm very glad it's available.” Rob Baker
MCCPDC currently offers 100 generic drugs to treat illnesses like diabetes, asthma, and heart conditions. As an example of savings, Imatinib, a drug used to treat leukemia, retails at other pharmacies for $9,657.40/month or $120/month with a voucher. On MCCPDC it's $47/month.
The company’s approach is different because it's working as both a retailer and a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM). PBMs act as intermediaries that manage drugs on behalf of Medicare drug plans and private insurers. They’re consistently identified as contributors to high drug prices in the U.S. MCCPDC explained: “Because the company refuses to pay spread prices to third-party PBMs in order to be allowed to process insurance claims, the online pharmacy will be a cash pay venture.” I.e. You can only pay out of pocket for now, but MCCPDC says it will still cost you less than what most insurance plans' deductible and copay requirements would total.
MCCPDC will put pressure on other digital pharmacies, including Amazon Pharamacy which just launched a year ago.
"Not everyone sets the goal of being the lowest cost producer and provider," Cuban told Axios. "My goal is to make a profit while maximizing impact."
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