Mark Cuban is shaking up pharma: What physicians should know

"Who is changing healthcare this new year? @costplusdrugs is!" businessman and investor Mark Cuban posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Jan. 1.

Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co., which does business as Cost Plus Drugs, first launched its online pharmacy in January 2022 with an initial inventory of 100 generic drugs, each sold at the cost of production plus 15% with a $5 fee to pay the pharmacists and a $5 fee for shipping.

"We will do whatever it takes to get affordable pharmaceuticals to patients," Cost Plus Drugs CEO Alex Oshmyansky, MD, PhD, said in a news release at the time. "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."

A drug manufacturing facility in Dallas that will focus on producing injectable drugs that often face supply shortages is currently in the works. The $11 million facility was initially expected to open in late 2022, but Mr. Cuban told Becker's in October that it's "getting closer" to opening.

As of December, Cost Plus Drugs offers over 2,200 drugs to more than 2 million members, according to a Jan. 2 report from Forbes. The company uses accredited pharmacists with ​​HealthDyne and Truepill and has partnerships with roughly 4,000 retail pharmacies.

The 15% markup is determined by the per-pill price that Cost Plus Drugs pays to purchase drugs from its suppliers. Because they round up to the nearest cent, the margin may be slightly more than 15% on occasion, according to the company's FAQ page.

The company currently accepts only prescription insurance from AffirmedRx, Archimedes, Capital Blue Cross, Drexi, MedOne, Oread Rx, PCA Rx, Rightway, RxPreferred, SGRX, SmithRx and Vivio.

When providers prescribe through Cost Plus Drugs, they include their patient's email address in the prescription request form. Patients then use that email to create an account with the company to receive their medications.

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