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Mark Cuban gives medicine the direct-to-consumer treatment

The Daily Stack digs into Cuban's Cost Plus Drug Company.

the outside of a cost plus drug company building.

Mark Cuban goes DTC. (Courtesy photo)

This article originally appeared in The Daily Stack, a daily private market insights newsletter by PrivCo, a private company intelligence platform.

Full disclosure: I am a longtime fangirl of Mark Cuban. As an avid viewer of Shark Tank, I am always struck by how he is tough but fair, an occasionally warm-hearted business person. He’s a lovable brother, with smart older brother vibes.

Taking notes on what other billionaire business leaders do for passion projects, one would think the best thing to do with all that wealth is to plot for space domination (Musk, Bezos, Branson), build a better alternate reality (Zuckerberg), or achieve immortality (Thiel). But Cuban isn’t like other billionaires.

Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Company is out to make prescription medications more affordable. The company does so by cutting out the middleman and delivering lifesaving generic pharmaceuticals to patients via a straightforward ecommerce platform.

The cut-out-the-middleman strategy

Hello? Why has no one started this company before? Direct-to-consumer has proven useful for offering customers lower prices for years. Warby Parker, Italic, and Everlane come immediately to mind. But prescription drugs? That’s an industry “ripe for disruption.” GoodRX, Capsule, and Honeybee Health are several of the available options already on the market, but Cuban’s offering is poised to manufacture, distribute, and negotiate with all the pizzazz that made Mark Cuban a billionaire.

Billionaire ambassador

In this case, it wasn’t Mark Cuban who came up with the idea, but Dr. Alex Oshmyansky, who founded the company in 2018 as Osh Affordable Pharmaceuticals. Cuban came on as a backer, and the rest is history. A recently published study found that Medicare could have saved nearly $4BN in 2020 if it purchased drugs from Cuban’s pharmacy. The policy still lags in order to make that savings a reality, but with drug savings of over $2,400 for cancer medications, this idea is a win for consumers.

Is Mark Cuban virtuous? Maybe, but he’s also out to gain. Can he do it with Cost Plus? Stay tuned.

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