American billionaires use their unimaginable wealth in all kinds of ways. Some of them try to figure out how to get humanity to Mars (or, more accurately, how to get themselves and their other rich friends to Mars). Others fall down the cryptocurrency rabbit hole. But a precious few seem more interested in solving the most immediate problems we’re facing right now and in Mark Cuban’s case, that means life-saving prescription drug costs that are soaring beyond the ability for many Americans to pay for them.
To address that crisis, Cuban launched the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company (Cost Plus). As the Shark Tank tycoon and Dallas Mavericks owner explained on PBS Newshour, Cost Plus inverts the current model of drug pricing, saving consumers hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
“Our approach at Cost Plus Drugs — which is we’ll show you our actual cost, we’ll mark it up 15%, we’ll add $3 pharmacy handling fee and $5 shipping, and that’s all you ever pay — that simplification and transparency has really had an impact,” Cuban told PBS’ Geoff Bennett.
People searching for cheaper alternatives to high-priced prescription drugs have a new and unexpected option — an online pharmacy founded by @mcuban. @GeoffRBennett spoke with Cuban about his direct-to-consumer company, Cost Plus Drugs. pic.twitter.com/cMvCNgWzSp
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) June 5, 2022
To keep things as cheap as possible, Cost Plus doesn’t spend money on advertising and is relying entirely on word of mouth. Over the last few weeks, that word of mouth has started to take off in a major way as new users found that Cuban’s service really works. “I just got a three-month supply of two of my prescriptions with shipping for a total of $20,” one shared. “With insurance copay, I was paying $200 for [a three-month’s supply] before.”
“My mom’s monthly prescription is only $14 on there, down from $270,” another wrote.
There are hundreds of stories like these, many of which Cuban is sharing on his personal Twitter feed. One man shared that his insurance didn’t cover his medication, which was costing him $150 a month, until Cost Plus knocked it down to $8.70. Another’s 90 day supply was costing $310, until Cost Plus brought it down to $25. noted that imatinib, which treats Leukemia, costs $47 per month at Cost Plus. At a conventional pharmacy, the same amount costs $9,657.
Now, the company has a lot of drawbacks. For one, while it’s adding new drugs all the time, it’s still a fairly limited selection and many users may find their needed drugs aren’t available. For another, Cost Plus doesn’t accept insurance, meaning people with insurance coverage should check its prices against whatever their coverage can get them at their pharmacy. In general, according to a MedPageToday analysis, Cost Plus is probably most effective for people who either don’t have medical insurance or have high deductibles that they don’t meet on a regular basis.
You can do a little research on Cost Plus right now, see if your prescriptions are available and compare those costs to whatever you’re currently paying. Cost Plus certainly has a few bugs to work out, but many users are finding it’s well worth it compared to the prevailing pharmaceutical industry standards.