Mark Cuban takes on major online pharmacies Walgreens (WBA) – Get the report from Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, SVC (SVC) – Get the CVS Health Corporation report and help with the rite (GDR) – Get the Rite Aid Corporation report, as well as newcomer Amazon (AMZN) – Get the report from Amazon.com, Inc., with the launch of its discount e-commerce pharmacy.
Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co. on Wednesday launched its services just weeks after establishing its pharmacy benefit manager operation in a bid to help protect consumers from inflated drug prices, the company said in a statement.
“We will do whatever it takes to bring affordable pharmaceuticals to patients,” Alex Oshmyansky, CEO of Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug, said in the statement. “The mark-up on potentially life-saving medicines that people depend on is an issue that cannot be ignored. It is imperative that we act and help expand access to these medicines for those who need them most.”
Mark Cuban Cost Plus can bypass middlemen and high markups as a registered pharmaceutical wholesaler, the company said. Pharmacy prices reflect actual manufacturer prices plus a fixed markup of 15% and pharmacist fees.
Consumers can expect a seamless and secure e-commerce experience when browsing the pharmacy website, designed and powered by digital healthcare company Truepill. Customers will have access to prescription fulfillment and delivery through Truepill’s national pharmaceutical footprint.
The Dallas-based online pharmacy will be a cash-pay business as the company refuses to pay tiered prices to third-party pharmacy benefit managers in order to be allowed to process insurance claims. Patients can immediately purchase a wide range of drugs at prices often lower than what most insurance plans’ deductible and copayment requirements would total, the statement said.
Mark Cuban Cost Plus will be the latest contender to take on online pharmacy market leaders Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid. In 2020, Walgreens had the highest e-commerce net sales at $1.8 billion, followed by CVS at $1.2 billion and Rite Aid at $199 million. according to Statista.
The global online pharmacy market in 2020 was estimated at over $68 billion, according to Facts and factors.
Amazon, which bought online pharmacy PillPack in 2018 for $753 million, launched its Amazon Pharmacy e-commerce pharmacy in 2020. In May, the company also planned to move to open pharmacies in its Whole Foods stores as well as in physical stores. showcases, according to a Business Insider Report.
According to a September 2021 Gallup poll, about 18 million Americans have been unable to afford at least one prescription drug for their household due to ever-increasing costs, and one in 10 Americans have skipped drugs. doses to save money, according to the release.
Promise of significant savings on prescriptions
Among the drugs that offer significant savings is the leukemia treatment Imatinib, which has a retail price of $9,657 per month but will only cost $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 Colchicine gout treatment, which sells for $182 per month, costs $8.70 per month.
In November 2021, Mark Cuban Cost Plus entered the Pharmacy Benefit Manager business to serve companies offering prescription coverage in their benefit plans. The company has pledged to be “radically transparent” in its own negotiations with pharmaceutical companies, revealing the true costs it pays for drugs and eliminating price gouging and misaligned discount incentives.
“There are many bad actors in the pharmaceutical supply chain that prevent patients from getting affordable medicines,” Oshmyansky said. “The only way to guarantee affordable prices is to integrate vertically.”