USA – Mark Cuban is taking on leading online pharmacies Walgreens Boots Alliance, CVS Health Corporation, Rite Aid, as well as newcomer Amazon with the launch of his discount e-commerce pharmacy.
Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co. debuted its services on Wednesday, just weeks after establishing its pharmacy benefit manager operation, with the goal of protecting consumers from inflated drug prices, according to a company statement.
“We will do whatever it takes to get affordable pharmaceuticals to patients,” Alex Oshmyansky, CEO of Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug said in the statement.
“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, Mark Cuban Cost Plus can avoid middlemen and large markups, according to the company.
The pharmacy’s prices include the manufacturer’s price plus a flat 15% margin and a pharmacist fee.
Consumers can expect a smooth, secure e-commerce experience as they navigate the pharmacy’s website, which was built and is powered by Truepill, a digital healthcare company.
Truepill’s nationwide pharmacy network will provide customers with prescription fulfillment and delivery services.
Because the company refuses to pay spread prices to third-party pharmacy benefit managers in order to process insurance claims, the Dallas-based online pharmacy will be a cash-only venture.
According to the statement, patients can immediately purchase a wide range of medications at prices that are frequently less than what most insurance plans’ deductible and copay requirements would total.
Mark Cuban Cost Plus will be the latest competitor to challenge market leaders Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid in the online pharmacy market.
According to Statista, Walgreens had the highest e-commerce net sales of US$1.8 billion in 2020, followed by CVS at US$1.2 billion and Rite Aid at US$199 million.
According to Facts and Factors, the global online pharmacy market in 2020 is expected to be worth more than US$68 billion.
Amazon, which paid US$753 million for online pharmacy PillPack in 2018, launched its e-commerce drugstore Amazon Pharmacy in 2020.
According to a Business Insider report from May, the company was also considering opening pharmacies in its Whole Foods stores as well as brick-and-mortar storefronts.
Prescription medication savings
Among the medications that provide significant savings is the leukemia treatment Imatinib, which has a retail price of US$9,657 per month but will only cost US$47 through Mark Cuban Cost Plus.
Mesalamine, an ulcerative colitis treatment that normally costs US$940 per month, is now available for US$32.40 through the new e-commerce pharmacy.
Finally, the gout treatment Colchicine, which normally costs US$182 per month, now costs US$8.70 per month.
Mark Cuban Cost Plus entered the pharmacy benefit manager industry in November 2021 to serve companies that provide prescription coverage in their employee benefit plans.
The company has promised to be “radically transparent” in its own negotiations with drug companies, disclosing the true costs of drugs and eliminating spread pricing and misaligned rebate incentives.
“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.“
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