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In just one of many examples, between 2006 and 2020, the price of 260 commonly prescribed medications tracked by AARP increased 2.9%, while the general rate of inflation was 1.3%.
With costs likely continuing to rise, billionaire entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” host Mark Cuban has launched his own online pharmacy, promising lower prices on more than 100 commonly prescribed generic medications. The CEO of the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company said they’re able to reduce the cost of prescriptions drastically by cutting out the middleman.
“In our online pharmacy, we’ve essentially found a category of drugs which are extremely expensive — not really because of the price from the manufacturer, but because of the price markups due to middlemen in the supply chain, primarily pharmaceutical wholesalers and pharmaceutical benefit managers,” Alex Oshmyansky, the company’s CEO, told The Dallas Morning News.
According to the company’s website, to make it work, Cuban set up his own pharmaceutical wholesaler and negotiates directly with drug manufacturers and pharmacies to get the best possible price. The company then sells the drugs at a 15% markup, plus an added $3 pharmacist fee, with shipping costing $5.
The company does not accept insurance but claims that even without it, the prices are less than what you would pay with insurance at a typical pharmacy.
To use the new online pharmacy, simply search their prescription drug list to see whether the medication you need is on it, get a prescription from your doctor, then order it online. Your medication will then be delivered to your door in a few days.
Cuban says on the company website that they want to “disrupt the drug industry and to do our best to end ridiculous drug prices.”
He hopes the online pharmacy will make it both cheaper and easier for people to get their medications, he told NBC.
“We’re trying to keep the price as low as possible, and as everybody who’s had to deal with a claim or bought a medication knows, there’s a lot of induced anxiety dealing with insurance,” Cuban told NBC. “And there’s a lot of overhead and administration dealing with insurance. Between your deductible and your copays, we felt there was a chance we could get the price down so low that it would still be cheaper to pay directly than it was to pay your copay or deal with your deductible.”
While it may seem too good to be true, or that there are hidden prices you don’t see right away, all the drug prices are listed online before you even place an order. Simply add 15%, the $3 pharmacy fee and $5 for shipping to find the full cost.
You’ll find drugs for a variety of conditions from cancer to allergies, heart health, diabetes, neurological conditions and more. Among the discounted drugs with the most savings is Imatinib, a type of cancer growth blocker. According to Mark Cuban Cost Plus, it retails for $2,502.50. The company, however, sells it for just $17.10.
The drug Albendazole, which treats hookworm, is another example of the stark price differences. The drug can cost up to $500 per course through a traditional pharmacy, but Cuban’s company sells it for $33 including fees, a possible savings of around $467.