Billionaire investor and reality TV star Mark Cuban is now running an online pharmacy that provides low-cost generic drugs, and he's hoping the new venture will shake up the pharmaceutical industry.
Cuban, who is also owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and one of the investors on the show "Shark Tank," said in a "CBS Mornings" interview Tuesday that the goal is to combat America's skyrocketing drug prices by offering a service with no middle men or huge markups.
The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company currently offers more than 800 generic drugs, but he plans to add name brand medications as well.
"Once we get there, we really think we can disrupt and turn the pharmaceutical industry upside down," Cuban said.
Americans spend about $365 billion a year for prescription drugs, and prices are much higher than in many other countries. A 2021 Gallup poll found that 18 million Americans, or 7% of U.S. adults, can't afford to pay for needed medication.
Cuban said he's able to keep prices low by buying directly from manufacturers. The new website, costplusdrugs.com, charges a 15% markup, a $3 handling fee and $5 for shipping.
"We all know people who've had to make decisions between their rent and food and medication, or they've had to ration their medication. And that's just wrong in the United States of America in 2022," Cuban said.
The idea for the business came from the company's co-founder, Dr. Alex Oshmyansky, who once emailed Cuban to discuss creating a pharmacy that would sell rare drugs at a lower cost.
"I was like, 'Why limit it to rare drugs? Let's build a company, and rather than work within the traditional system, let's work outside of it and just have complete transparency,'" Cuban said.
The Pittsburgh native said he hopes the pharmacy will eventually become the place to go for "every medication on the planet."
"Look, I'm the luckiest guy in the world, and to be able to find something that can change people's lives for the better, why wouldn't I?" Cuban said. "My next dollar is not going to change my life, one way or the other. It's not going to make a difference for my children, or their children, or their children… But to be able to make medicine affordable, that's a game changer."
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