MCCPDC logo and pills
Source: MCCPDC Twitter

Mark Cuban Launches Cost Plus Drug to Combat Inflated Drug Prices

Anuradha Garg - Author
By

Jan. 24 2022, Published 12:59 p.m. ET

According to a September 2021 Gallup poll, 18 million Americans weren't able 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. Mark Cuban is trying to shield consumers from inflated drug prices.

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On Jan. 19, Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Company (MCCPDC) officially launched its online pharmacy. According to Alex Oshmyansky, the CEO of Mark Cuban's Cost Plus Drug Company, “We will do whatever it takes to get affordable pharmaceuticals to patients.” Is there a way to invest in Cost Plus Drug Company?

In November, the company launched its PBM (pharmacy benefit manager) operation. The company can negotiate lower prices for pharmaceutical consumers by acting as a middleman between pharmacies, healthcare providers, and drug manufacturers. MCCPDC aims to fundamentally change the way the pharmaceutical industry operates.

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Currently, the company offers about 100 generic drugs and aims to expand the list. According to the company's website, the pharmacy will offer medications that focus on diabetes, heart health, gastrointestinal issues, mental health, cancer, antibiotics, and other areas.

How can MCCPDC help lower drug prices for consumers?

As a registered pharmaceutical wholesaler, MCCPDC can bypass middlemen and high markups. The pharmacy's prices reflect actual manufacturer prices plus a flat 15 percent margin and pharmacist fee. Through vertical integration, the company can mitigate drug costs for consumers. MCCPDC works with a digital healthcare company Truepill, which ensures a seamless and secure e-commerce experience for patients.

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mark cuban drug company
Source: Mark Cuban Companies

One example of its low-cost structure is the price that MCCPDC charges for a drug named Imatinib (used for the treatment of leukemia), which has a retail price of $9,657 per month. While the lowest price with a common voucher is $120 per month, MCCPDC’s price is just $47 per month.

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MCCPDC is only a cash pay venture since it doesn't pay spread prices to third-party PBMs. However, the company maintains that its model still ensures prices that are often less than what most insurance plans' deductible and copay requirements would total.

How's the digital pharmacy space in the U.S.?

Digital pharmacies have been fast gaining pace in the U.S. The big tech giant Amazon entered the space in 2018 by acquiring digital pharmacy PillPack for under $1 billion. Later, the company rolled out Amazon Pharmacy by integrating PillPack.

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According to Mobi Health, investors are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into this space. Online pharmacy Capsule completed a $300 million funding round, which brought its total valuation to $1 billion. Alto, another digital pharmacy, closed a $250 million Series D funding round in 2020.

Is there a way to invest in the Cost Plus venture yet?

Being the latest entrant in this space with an aim to disrupt the market with its low-cost model, it isn't a surprise that Cost Plus has ignited significant investor interest as well. However, the company hasn’t announced any plans for an IPO yet and is still a private company.

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