Dallas, TX

Low-cost online pharmacy founded by Dallas Mavs owner Mark Cuban could save Medicare billions of dollars annually

Jalyn Smoot

Mark Cuban could save Americans billions of dollars in prescription drug subscriptionsjdlasica/Creative Commons

Dallas Mavs owner Mark Cuban plans to revolutionize the modern prescription drug industry as we know it with the introduction of his low-cost pharmacy Cost-Plus Drug Co.

Cuban launched the online pharmacy in January and aims to dramatically slash prices for generic drugs, including treatments for diabetes, cancer, mental health issues and hormone therapy.

Cuban grew tired of the exorbitant pricing of prescription drugs and founded Cost-Plus Drug Co. to offer medicine in the most inexpensive, transparent way.

"Its just wrong, that people have to choose between eating, you know, their rent, and taking their medications or buying their medications in United States of America and 2022," Cuban said in an interview with PBS. "It's just wrong. And it was obvious there was not going to be a political solution."

Cuban continued by challenging the philosophy surrounding the industry standard price of prescription drugs.

"The reality is the only number that matters is cost," Cuban said. What can we as the retailer or the distributor, buy it for and how low can we sell it? So we decided to take the exact opposite approach that politicians have been taking."

Cost-Plus Drug Co. sells more than 800 medications. Some of the versions cost 99 percent less than the generic brand. 

With this new, low-cost approach, Cuban hopes to make prescription drugs more accessible and far more affordable for consumers.

For example, Midodrine HCI, a medicine commonly used to treat low blood pressure, has a retail value of $187.50 but will be sold for just $6.30 on Cost-Plus Drug Co.

Some drugs have even larger savings attached. Becker's Hospital Review recently published a list of the 50 drugs with the biggest savings at Cuban's pharmacy. Albendazole (generic for Albenza) topped the list, saving consumers over $6,000 for a 30-count supply. In all, 14 of the top 50 discounted drugs save consumers over $500 for a 30-count supply when purchased from Cost Plus Drugs.

Last week, a new study from the Annals of Internal Medicine estimated that if Medicare Part D plans had purchased generic drugs from Cuban's company, Medicare could have saved $3.6 billion in 2020.

Upon this discovery, Cuban shared a tweet highlighting the potentially massive economic impact of a partnership with Medicare and urged President Biden to help make it happen.

The study compared expenses on 89 generic drugs and found that 77 of the drugs were cheaper to purchase at Cost Plus Drugs.

Sky-high drug costs have long been a problem in the U.S. A Gallup poll released in September found that 18 million Americans reported being unable to afford at least one doctor-prescribed medication in the previous three months.

Through Cost-Plus Drug Co., Cuban hopes to remedy this issue and make prescription drugs as affordable as possible.

"Our sole mission is to be the low-cost drug provider for as many drugs as we can possibly offer," Mr. Cuban told Becker's. "That is counter to most business interests, particularly over a long period of time."

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University of North Texas Alum • Freelance Reporter

Dallas, TX

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