(The Hill) – Billionaire Mark Cuban launched an online pharmacy on Monday in what the company said was a bid to “drastically expand access to affordable pharmaceuticals.”
In a press release, the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company (MCCPD) said it hopes to shield consumers from inflated drug prices.
The pharmacy, which will sell generic drugs, said it will “bypass middlemen and outrageous markups” and charge consumers the manufacturers’ prices, in addition to a flat 15% markup and pharmacist fee.
Quoting one example of its prices, the company said that it will sell Imatinib — a drug used to treat leukemia with a retail price of $9,657 per month, or $120 with a common voucher — at a price of $47 per month.
“We will do whatever it takes to get affordable pharmaceuticals to patients,” MCCPD CEO Alex Oshmyansky said.
“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,” he added.
The company added that it will negotiate drug prices directly with manufacturers to lower costs for consumers.
The company said it will not accept health insurance, but claimed the prices could still be lower than what people would typically pay via their insurance deductibles and co-pays. A September Gallup poll showed that 18 million Americans were recently unable to pay for at least one prescription medication for their household due to ever-rising costs, and 1 in 10 Americans have skipped doses to save money.
The high price of pharmaceuticals has become a politically hot-button issue. Reducing the cost of pharmaceuticals for U.S. families also formed a key pillar of President Joe Biden’s stalled Build Back Better agenda.