Mark Cuban takes on leading online pharmacies Walgreens (WBA) – Get the Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc report, CVS (CVS) – Get CVS Health Corporation Report and Rite Aid (RAD) – Get Rite Aid Corporation Report, as well as newcomer Amazon (AMZN) – Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report, with the launch of its low-cost e-commerce pharmacy.
Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co. debuted its services Wednesday, just weeks after the creation of its pharmacy benefits manager with the goal of protecting consumers from excessive drug prices, the company said in a statement.
“We will do everything we can to get affordable medicines to patients,” Alex Oshmyansky, CEO of Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug, said in the statement. “The markup on potentially life-saving drugs that people depend on is an issue that cannot be ignored. It is imperative that we take action and help expand access to these drugs to those who need them most.”
Mark Cuban Cost Plus can bypass middlemen and large profit margins as a registered pharmaceutical wholesaler, the company said. Pharmacy prices reflect the manufacturer’s actual prices plus a 15% flat margin and pharmacy fees.
Consumers can expect a seamless, secure e-commerce experience as they navigate the pharmacy website, built and powered by digital healthcare company Truepill. Customers can access prescription processing and delivery through Truepill’s nationwide pharmacy footprint.
The Dallas-based online pharmacy is turning into a cash-payment venture as the company refuses to pay installment fees to outside pharmacy benefit managers to process insurance claims. Patients can immediately purchase a wide variety of medications at prices often lower than what most deductible and copay insurance plans would cost, the statement said.
Mark Cuban Cost Plus will be the latest competitor to take on online pharmacy leaders Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid. In 2020, Walgreens had the highest net sales through e-commerce at $1.8 billion, according to Statista, followed by CVS at $1.2 billion and Rite Aid at $199 million.
According to Facts and Factors, the global online pharmacy market was estimated to be more than $68 billion in 2020.
Amazon, which bought online pharmacy PillPack for $753 million in 2018, launched its e-commerce drugstore Amazon Pharmacy in 2020. In May, the company also considered opening pharmacies in its Whole Foods stores and brick-and-mortar storefronts, according to a Business Insider. -report.
According to a September 2021 Gallup poll, about 18 million Americans were unable to afford at least one prescription drug for their household due to ever-increasing costs, and one in 10 Americans skipped doses to save money, the statement said.
Promising Prescription Savings
One of the drugs that offers significant savings is the leukemia treatment Imatinib, which retails for $9,657 per month but costs only $47 through Mark Cuban Cost Plus. Ulcerative Colitis Treatment Mesalamine, which sells for $940 a month, costs $32.40 through the new e-commerce pharmacy.
Finally, the gout treatment Colchicine, which retails for $182 per month, costs $8.70 per month.
In November 2021, Mark Cuban Cost Plus entered the pharmacy benefit manager sector to serve companies that provide prescription coverage in their employee benefit plans. The company has pledged to be “radically transparent” in its own negotiations with drug companies, reveal the true costs it pays for drugs and eliminate staggered pricing and misaligned discount incentives.
“There are plenty of bad actors in the pharmaceutical supply chain that prevent patients from getting affordable drugs,” Oshmyansky said. “The only way to make sure affordable prices come through is to integrate vertically.”