Jan 24, 2022 - Health

Mark Cuban launches digital pharmacy promising steep discounts on generic drugs

Mark Cuban talking
Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Consumer-facing digital pharmacies face fresh competition in the form of Mark Cuban's drug company, which recently launched an online pharmacy promising steep discounts on 100 generic medications.

Why it matters: The new offering is likely to put increased pressure on existing digital pharmacies — such as Ro and Amazon Pharmacy — and contributes to growing discontent with pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), which are increasingly seen as cost-raising intermediaries.

  • "Not everyone sets the goal of being the lowest cost producer and provider," Cuban told Axios in an email. "My goal is to make a profit while maximizing impact."

Details: The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company (MCCPDC) only accepts cash and uses Truepill’s platform to fill and deliver prescriptions.

  • The company is pitching its approach as a way to curb drug costs by working both as a retailer and its own PBM.
  • MCCPDC will sell medications for cancer, diabetes, gastrointestinal and heart conditions, and more.
  • For example, the company says it will charge $47 a month for Imatinib, a common medication for leukemia that retails for more than $9,600 monthly and costs roughly $120 per month with a typical voucher. 
  • The prices include a flat 15% fee, plus a $3 charge for pharmacists' labor.
  • The company is building an $11 million, 22,000 square-foot factory in Dallas that it hopes to complete by April, Forbes reports.

What we're watching: As virtual care companies increasingly race to become consumers’ first stop for health-related needs, we’re curious to see how digital pharmacies fit into the mix. 

  • Hims & Hers, for example, recently began adding services for primary and urgent care and behavioral health.
  • Similarly, Ro recently added virtual visits and offers treatments for a host of chronic issues including allergies, menopause and weight management.
  • So, will MCCPDC stick to its pharmacy guns, or start adding new features to become yet another player on the increasingly crowded virtual care stage?
  • Cuban declined to comment on our questions about how much he invested in the company.

Sarah and Erin co-author the Axios Pro newsletter on health tech deals. Subscribe at AxiosPro.com.

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