Mark Cuban, billionaire, offers an online pharmacy that addresses the rising costs of prescription medicine in the US.
Shark Tank investor and Dallas Mavericks owner has launched The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, (MCCPDC), which aims at selling 100 generic drugs at lower-than market prices.
“It’s ridiculous what the pricing for generic drugs is. Period end of story,” Cuban wrote to Forbes in an email.
Cuban, estimated to be worth $4.2 billion, didn’t disclose how much he invested in Cost Plus Drugs.
“I put my name on it because I wanted to show that capitalism can be compassionate and to send the message I am all in,” he said of his newest venture.
The idea for the Dallas, Texas-based company grew out of the pricing scandal involving “Pharma Bro” Martin Shrkeli, who raised the price of antiparasitic drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per tablet when he was CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals.
“I was just so livid about that, said the founder and CEO of MCCPDC, Dr. Alex Oshmyansky, a Texas radiologist. “I had patients have serious injuries from the high cost of drugs, which should have been very cheap. I’ve been angry about it for a long time.”
It’s one of the reasons why the online pharmacy’s first drug will be a generic version of another antiparasitic drug called albendazole, which is used to treat hookworm.
“The people getting price-gouged are people who are living in extreme poverty,” said Oshmyansky. “If you get it, and you treat it right away, it’s not a big deal. But if it’s left to fester, it can cause cognitive defects and neurological problems.”
Oshmyansky claims that it takes only two albendazole tablets in order to treat an infection.
Rojelio Medjia, an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine and physician, has been partnered by the MCCPDC to study hookworm’s prevalence in rural Alabama.
Albendazole’s average cash price is $225 per tablet, and Cuban’s company will sell it for only $20 per table.
These are just a few of the notable medications that Cost Plus Drugs will have available:
Imatinib – A leukemia treatment with a retail price of $9,657 per month that MCCPDC offers for $47 per month
Mesalamine – A ulcerative colitis treatment that retails for $940 per month but comes in at $32.40 per month with MCCPDC
Colchicine – A gout treatment that costs $182 per month, which MCCPDC sells for $8.70 per month
The online pharmacy plans to expand its product range. In a tweet to someone asking about a medication not included in the initial lineup, Cuban said they “will add them as quickly as we can.”
“We will do whatever it takes to get affordable pharmaceuticals to patients,” Oshmyansky said. “The markup on potentially lifesaving drugs that people depend on is a problem that can’t be ignored. It is imperative that we take action and help expand access to these medications for those who need them most.”
The registered pharmaceutical wholesaler’s business plan is rooted in transparency, with the goal of producing “low-cost versions of high-cost generic drugs.”
The strategy is to “bypass middlemen and outrageous markups.” This means MCCPDC will buy drugs from wholesalers, package them, add a 15% markup and a $3 pharmacist fee, and then sell them to clinics, pharmacies, and health systems.
MCCPDC eliminates pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacists, and pharmacies who negotiate with other stakeholders in the healthcare sector.
“There are numerous bad actors in the pharmaceutical supply chain preventing patients from getting affordable medicines,” said Oshmyansky. “The only way to ensure affordable prices get through is to vertically integrate.”
The company refuses spread prices to third-party PBM administrator to be allowed process insurance claims. Customers can only buy their medicines in cash.
This model is great because patients can purchase a wide variety of medications right away at prices that are often much lower than their deductibles or copays.
The online pharmacy is also building an office in Dallas to package and fill medicines under sterile conditions.
Prices will drop if costs are lower, but MCCPDC will maintain the 15% markup.
“If others beat our pricing, we celebrate,” Cuban wrote on Twitter.
Click the video below for more information about this online pharmacy that offers affordable, life-saving medicine.
***Did you enjoy our feel-good and positive story? Support our site by simply subscribing and sharing our stories to your friends.