Many people know Mark Cuban as the investor on Shark Tank and the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Now, he’s the owner of Cost Plus Drug Company, an online pharmacy making medications affordable without insurance.
This drug company seems like the first of its kind.
While things like GoodRX exist, which offer coupons for discount drug prices at your local pharmacy, this company simply sells them at a cheaper cost.
The homepage for Cost Plus Drug Company says, “No middlemen. No price games. Huge drug savings.”
The homepage also lists some of the most expensive drugs, with one being Imatinib, which is generic for Gleevec.
This medication treats cancers like leukemia.
The retail price for this drug runs around $2,502.50, while the price through the pharmacy is just $14.40.
How is Mark Cuban creating an affordable pharmacy for Americans like Cost Plus Drug Company?
One of the ways Cuban is tackling the issue of price is through marketing, or better yet, lack of marketing.
Marketing for companies can be expensive, so one of the ways he’s cutting costs to put all money toward the drugs is by getting rid of marketing altogether.
According to Insider, the pharmacy has forfeited any sort of marketing to keep their drug prices as low as possible as competing prices outpace inflation.
Studies have been done using the pricing at Cuban’s pharmacy compared to competing prices.
One study done at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston showed that billions could have been saved by Medicare if they used the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company.
The details showed that Medicare is estimated to have spent $9.6 billion dollars on 89 generic prescription drugs.
That cost would have dropped by $3.6 billion by using Cuban’s pharmacy to buy generic drugs.
As inflation continues to rise, the cost of Medicare drug prices are actually higher than the rate of inflation.
Patients can’t handle this, and are delaying their refills, rationing their medications, or switching to more affordable options if they exist.
How Mark Cuban is selling these drugs at lower prices
Cuban’s pharmacy negotiates prices directly with the drug manufacturer to get the lowest prices possible.
Transparent pricing is also provided, allowing consumers to see what they are paying for and why it’s that price.
The price includes what the company paid for the medication, manufacturing, markup, and the labor of the pharmacy.
The company saves the most money by heavily relying on word of mouth.
This helps the company avoid spending large amounts of money on marketing, which is something its competitors do.
Cuban relies on social media like Twitter to spread the word, where other companies who can’t spend as much on ad space as prices rise see a decline in their growth.
While Cuban’s pharmacy works toward solving the issues of medications and affordability, it’s still falling short with the bigger issue
The pharmacy has made good on its promise to keep drug prices low and affordable for millions of Americans.
There are over 800 affordable medications available through the pharmacy for things like cancer, dementia, and other illnesses.
According to CNBC, a Gallup and West Health poll found that 7% of Americans were not able to afford at least one drug their doctor prescribed in 2021.
The issue experts are talking about?
It’s really the name brand drugs rising in price and remaining unaffordable.
Cuban is only offering generic medications through the online pharmacy.
Gabriel Levitt, president of consumer advocate company PharmacyChecker, told CNBC, ““As much as I support the venture, what they’re doing does not address the big elephant in the room.”
When a company creates a new medication, they patent the formula for around twenty years.
Once the patent is up, other companies can create generic versions of the drug.
This means that name brand drugs currently under a patent are only available through that one company.
The patent gives them exclusive selling rights in addition to selling the medication at whatever cost they want.
While brand name medications only make up for a small amount of prescriptions, they accounted for 80% of prescription medication expenditures in 2018.
Middlemen, which work between insurance companies and medication companies, do what they can to increase profits despite existing as a way to help find discounts.
They can add the pantented medication to a list of preferred medications so doctors are more likely to prescribe them.
Middlemen and insurance companies make the most money when a patient pays for the prescription.
While this issue has yet to find any resolution, what Cuban is doing is still major progress for Americans.
There are 7 major prescriptions commonly used that Americans are benefitting from through this pharmacy
As Cuban’s pharmacy begins to take off, Americans who use common medications are starting to find better deals, according to the Motley Fool.
On medication, Albuterol, is what’s used in an inhaler for people with asthma.
Albuterol is the generic form of Proventil, and incredibly necessary to help people breathe during an asthma attack.
The 90 mcg inhaler goes for $21.91 through Cuban’s pharmacy and $49.09 at a retail pharmacy.
Lisinopril is the generic medication for Prinivil and used for high blood pressure.
A 30 count bottle of 10 mg Lisinopril is $3.90 online through Cuban’s pharmacy.
At a retail pharmacy, you would pay $33.90.
Atorvastatin, the generic drug for Lipitor, is for high cholesterol.
30 10 mg pills are $3.60 through Cost Plus Drugs and $55.20 at a retail pharmacy.
Metformin is the generic drug for Glucophage, used to treat type 2 diabetes.
A 30 count 500 mg bottle would cost $3.90 through Cuban’s pharmacy and $20.10 at a retail pharmacy.
Levothyroxine, the generic version of Synthroid, is used for hypothyroidism.
A 30 count 25 mcg bottle is $4.20 through Cuban’s pharmacy and $15.90 at a retail pharmacy.
Montelukast Sodium, the generic of Singulair, is for asthma and allergies.
A 30 count bottle of 10 mg tablets will cost $4.20 through Cuban’s pharmacy and $170.10 at a retail pharmacy.
Finally Escitalopram Oxalate, the generic for Lexapro, is $3.90 for a 30 day supply of 10 mg pills through Cuban’s pharmacy.
The same drug is $47.70 at a retail pharmacy.
These are some of the most commonly used and now affordable medications available to people.
Those without health insurance to cover the cost of medications could see major savings when using this pharmacy.
Many Americans have shared their success when using Cuban’s innovative pharmacy on Twitter.
Related: Drug prices: Lawmakers propose solution to control skyrocketing medication costs
Samantha edits our personal finance and consumer news section. Have a question or lead? Send it to [email protected].