Mark Cuban is changing the game, making hard-to-afford medications more affordable by launching Cost Plus Drug Company (MCCPDC) an online pharmacy [www.costplusdrugs.com]. The launch comes just weeks after their pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) operation was established [www.costpluspbm.com] – both critical efforts in the company's pursuit to help shield consumers from inflated drug prices.
According to a September 2021 Gallup poll, 18 million Americans were recently unable to pay for
at least one prescription medication for their household due to ever-rising costs, and 1 in 10 Americans have skipped doses to save money. The pharmacy's launch represents the first critical milestone in bringing affordable medications to millions.
Notable medications that epitomize the pharmacy's striking savings include:
- Imatinib – leukemia treatment
- Retail price: $9,657 per month
- Lowest price with common voucher: $120 per month
- MCCPDC price: $47 per month
- Mesalamine – ulcerative colitis treatment
- Retail price: $940 per month
- Lowest price with common voucher: $102 per month
- MCCPDC price: $32.40 per month
- Colchicine – gout treatment
- Retail price: $182 per month
- Lowest price with common voucher: $32 per month
- MCCPDC price: $8.70 per month
"We will do whatever it takes to get affordable pharmaceuticals to patients," said Alex Oshmyansky, CEO of Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug. "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."
As a registered pharmaceutical wholesaler, MCCPDC can bypass middlemen and outrageous markups. The pharmacy's prices reflect actual manufacturer prices plus a flat 15% margin and pharmacist fee. With the help of digital healthcare company Truepill, patients can expect a seamless, secure e-commerce experience as they navigate the pharmacy's website, built and powered by Truepill's digital health platform. Patients will also enjoy reliable prescription fulfillment and delivery through Truepill's nationwide pharmacy footprint.
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. However, its model means patients can immediately purchase a broad array of medications at prices often less than what most insurance plans' deductible and copay requirements would total.
In November 2021 MCCPDC entered the PBM industry to serve companies providing prescription coverage in their employee benefit plans. MCCPDC has pledged to be "radically transparent" in its own negotiations with drug companies as a PBM, revealing the true costs it pays for drugs and eliminating spread pricing and misaligned rebate incentives. MCCPDC anticipates its PBM could save companies millions of dollars with no changes to its benefits, depending on the size of the employer, because it will eliminate the traditional PBM model. The company plans to integrate its pharmacy and wholesaler with its PBM, so any company that uses its PBM will have access to wholesale pricing through its online pharmacy.
"There are numerous bad actors in the pharmaceutical supply chain preventing patients from getting affordable medicines," Oshmyansky said. "The only way to ensure affordable prices get through is to vertically integrate."