Billionaire Mark Cuban is eager to solve the US prescription drug price crisis. He is on a mission to sell cheaper prescription drugs directly to Americans,
Earlier this year, the 63-year-old entrepreneur launched his online pharmacy that offers more than 100 generic drugs at an affordable price.
His startup venture, called Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, is now offering steeply discounted prices on generic prescription drugs, with some drugs available at a very competitive price.
Imatinib 100 mg, a generic leukemia drug, currently costs $2,502 for 30 tablets. Cuban’s company is selling the same medicine for just $17.10.
A 2021 study by RAND found that Americans pay nearly 245% more for prescription drugs than any other developed country.
A September 2021 West Health and Gallup survey showed that 7% (18 million) of Americans reported they can no longer afford one or more of their prescription drugs.
Undeniably, Cuban should be applauded for making life-saving drugs more affordable; however, one startup is not enough to solve the nation’s ongoing prescription drug price crisis, according to some health care industry reformers.
The billionaire’s online pharmacy offers discounted prices on only generic drugs. In the US, drug companies are awarded patents for a certain period, wherein they get the exclusive rights to sell the drug. The companies have the exclusive right to sell the drug for about 12 to 16 years at a price they decide, which is, of course, expensive.
Once the patent is expired, other manufacturers can start making and selling the same drug in generic versions. The price of generic drugs comes down quickly if companies start making more and more generic medicines.
Americans have already started using generic drugs. About 4 out of 5 medicines prescribed in the US are generic. However, still, Americans pay 84% more for generic drugs than other countries like the UK, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, and Spain. Generic drugs are not breaking people’s budgets; it is the brand-name drugs.