Mark Cuban Has Created an Affordable Online Pharmacy

Skidmore, Gage. “Mark Cuban.” Flickr, 20 Mar. 2019, Accessed 2 Feb. 2022.

Kaeden Brown

Pharmacy drug costs have always been a problem to the average American. However, Mark Cuban, the billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner, and Shark Tank star seems to have found the solution.

It seems that in the modern day, the more lethal your disease is, the more expensive medication is for it. Name brand drugs cost on average 85% more than generic drugs, but are way more available and recommended. The average cost that an American is spends on medication is more than $1200, and we spend the most in the world. There are a few main reasons why this is the case. First off, there is no intervention by the government in the area of price regulation. Second, the middlemen in the supply chain–pharmacies insurance, and employers that negotiate drug prices–cause prices to fluctuate and usually increase, affecting what you have to pay. Lastly, labor costs in the industry drive prices up. Mark Cuban, on the other hand, is shooting to eliminate all the clutter and just have a simple system. He is removing the middlemen, the negotiations, and just charging the cost of the drug from the manufacturer. He is adding a 15% tax to pay for the pharmacist and make a profit.

On 3the da the site launched, Cuban tweeted, “All drugs are priced at cost plus 15% ! Sign up and share your thoughts and experiences with us !” You cannot yet use health insurance to pay for the system, but the prices are still drastically lower. An example given by NPR, is that imatinib, a drug used to treat leukemia, is $2502.60 at most pharmacies, but Mark Cuban is only charging $17.10. At first glance, most people would probably wonder why this would even exist as it would make considerably less money. However, if this website gains enough traction, it will be making thousands, if not millions more than the average pharmacy.

When making or looking into a business, one must look for possible competition. Surprisingly enough, Mark Cuban has no real competition. CVS Caremark does handle the drug benefit program of their medication, but their costs aren’t nearly as low. In case any competition does arise, Mark Cuban’s ability to disclose his prices so openly and proudly serve as key to putting him ahead of them. While it is the law to state prices, it is customary for pharmacies and drug makers to try and hide their prices. In 2021, a rule was finalized by Health and Human Services (HHS) to force drug benefit programs to disclose prices to consumers. The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association tried to sue to block this rule. This is was done because this would aid competition, consumers, and manufacturers to compare costs with others and possibly lose business. Because the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company Has its own drug benefit program built in, he may or may not be making a massive mistake disclosing all of this information. However, because it hasn’t been done before, I highly doubt Big Pharma will be changing its pricing anytime soon.

I think seeing a billionaire try to help out the average American without a level of shady business practice is a good trend that other upcoming companies or entrepreneur should look into. Cost Plus Drug fully discloses prices, markups, negotiations and business practice with the consumer and that should be a good inspiration to Big Pharma and really any large company. I admire the work being done and hope to see big growth in the coming years for Cost Plus Drug.