Mark Cuban is on a mission to disrupt the drug industry.
The tech billionaire co-founded online pharmacy CostPlus Drug Company, the only company that bears his name, in January 2022.
While the task is daunting and many other big names in the corporate world have tried to slash drug prices without success, Cuban seems to be able to make it happen.
He has just achieved one of his biggest victories. The pharmaceutical laboratory Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) – Get Free Report, has signed a partnership with CostPlus Drug Company on a blockbuster drug. This drug is Invokana, which is usually used to control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Cuban himself broke the news on Twitter.
“Invokana is now at @costplusdrugs!!!” the billionaire posted on Twitter on April 3. “Thanks to @JanssenUS for helping to change the game for prices of branded drugs !!! If you or anyone you know uses Invokana , please have them check out http://costplusdrugs.com !”
CostPlus Drug Company has also announced the price of this drug. The cost of 30 tablets of 100 mg is $243.90. That’s a drop of almost $400 compared to prices offered in other pharmacies.
The cost for Invokana oral tablet 100 mg is around $640 for a supply of 30 tablets, depending on the pharmacy you visit, according to Drugs.com. It cautioned that the quoted prices are for cash-paying customers and are not valid with insurance plans.
Invokana aka Canagliflozin belongs to the class of medications called oral hypoglycemics. It is used alone or in combination with other medications to control blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. This medication is part of an overall diabetes management plan that includes a diet and exercise program. It works, according to experts, by increasing the amount of glucose removed from the body by the kidneys, which lowers blood sugar levels.
People with type 2 diabetes and heart disease can also use it to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke. This medication may also be used by people with type 2 diabetes who have reduced kidney function secondary to diabetes to reduce the risk of death from kidney failure.
Invokana has side effects: it may cause dizziness for example.
“Compare @costplusdrugs pricing on Invokana to any other source to see the value that transparency and rebate free pricing has!” Cuban said.
“This arrangement with Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company is another example of how we are supporting patient access to needed medicines especially for cash paying patients who are uninsured, or who are underinsured because of cost-shifting by commercial payers.” a Janssen spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “We have long-standing, strong relationships with all stakeholders across the healthcare system, including with PBMs, that are integral to our efforts to help us maintain market access for our products.”
By securing Invokana’s price reduction of more than half, Cuban scores its first big win in its mission to disrupt the pharmaceutical industry as it is the very first non-generic blockbuster that CostDrugs plus will sell at low cost.
He thus penetrates a colossal market. According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 37.3 million people have diabetes (11.3% of the U.S. population). About 96 million people aged 18 years or older have prediabetes (38% of the adult U.S. population).
“A big kudos to @mcuban @alexosh @costplusdrugs for this first big foray into disrupting bogus, inflated brand drug pricing and working to provide a true, transparent low price without the normal disparate pricing schemes that enable arbitrage, waste, and inequity,” a user tweeted at Cuban.
CostPlus Drug Company “fills and delivers prescriptions at cost plus a fixed 15% margin,” the company says on its website.
Cuban is able to provide these prices because there’s no middleperson. CostPlus Drug Company bypasses health-insurers and negotiates directly with drug manufacturers.
“In 2020 alone, Medicare could have spent $3.6 billion less on generic acid-reflux, cancer and other drugs if purchased through Cost Plus Drug Company, a new online pharmacy backed by Mark Cuban,” found a study from Harvard Medical School researchers.
The company’s business model may also be beneficial for health insurers, including Medicare, which spent an estimated $115.6 billion on prescription drugs last year, or nearly a third of the total U.S. drug spending, the study added.