Dr. Yanira Cruz, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging, has published an article in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, explaining who are the real sharks in the pharmaceutical industry.

The now-dead Build Back Better (BBB) bill aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs, especially for Hispanic and Latino people.

“Disproportionately likely to be uninsured and suffer from chronic conditions that require medicine to treat, Hispanic Americans often face outsized difficulties affording their medications,” Dr. Cruz says. “42% of Hispanics have reported not taking medications as prescribed due to the cost.”

She proposes cutting out the middlemen in the pharmaceutical supply chain, namely Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), to lower drug costs.

Citing a 2019 study from the Berkeley Research Group, she said for the first time, over 50% of every dollar spent on prescriptions in the U.S. went toward supply chain middlemen.

Most of us have no idea what values middlemen actually add to our healthcare system.

To reduce drug prices, American billionaire and Shark Tank TV host Mark Cuban announced in January that he is launching an online pharmacy that offers more than 100 generic drugs at an affordable price. His online pharmacy aims to be “radically transparent” in its price negotiations with pharma companies.

“Your purchasing service is going to be buying in sufficient quantities to get you the best discount from manufacturers — much better than you could do by calling the drug maker yourself, negotiating, and buying direct (if that were even legal, which it isn’t),” Dr. Cruz explained.

“That bulk buying power is the advantage to you of using the service,” she adds. “For managing your medication purchases, your service will charge a low, flat markup on the prices it negotiates with drug makers.”

The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs Company (MCCPDC) is a regulated online pharmacy that provides access to quality generic drugs at an affordable price. Its mission is to offer safe medicines at the lowest possible price. The online pharmacy buys drugs directly from manufacturers and sells them directly to consumers.

Dr. Cruz explains that this kind of savings is not due to greedy companies jacking up prices, but supply chain middlemen like PBMs, who “negotiate prices between the manufacturers and insurance companies, Medicare, employers, and other health care payers.” So, when entrepreneurs, like Cuban, see a situation like this, they see a business opportunity.