Updated: Feb 5
Billionaire investor Mark Cuban is renowned for critiquing startup plans on the hit TV series ‘Shark Tank,” often dismissing prospective entrepreneurs with the show’s famous line, “I’m out.” Cuban has also been a longtime critic of expensive health costs – and now he’s stepping in to offer a solution.
Cuban has launched a new company, Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs, which aims to offer low-cost rivals to overpriced generic drugs. The firm will kick-start with one product: albendazole, an antiparasitic. It will charge $20 per tablet, a huge discount to its current average cash price of $225, according to the company’s website.
Cuban intends to disclose the close of development and distribution for each of its products and then add a 15% margin to calculate a wholesale price. “This makes sure we remain viable and profitable. There are no hidden costs, no middlemen, no rebates only available to insurance companies,” the company disclosed via its website.
Mark Cuban Cost Plus aims to be marketing more than 100 additional drugs by the end of 2021. The company is setting up its manufacturing facility in Dallas that it hopes to launch by 2022.
As a TV celebrity and founder of the Dallas Mavericks, Cuban might not look like the typical natural healthcare disruptor, but in recent years, he’s made cutting down health costs a personal mission. Cuban is a council member for the United States of Care, a nonprofit that advocates for equitable access to healthcare.
In 2019, Cuban was a guest on a televised interview alongside United States of Care co-founder Andy Slavitt, where he griped that healthcare in America “is so politically charged that people aren’t trying to solve problems. They’re trying to sell what’s most politically expedient for them,” bringing about a system that doesn’t ask the question, ‘How do we make people the healthiest and then pay for that?”
Cuban gave an example of high drug prices and proposed setting up a “club kind of like Costco,” where members would receive drugs “at cost plus 15%.” He is now bringing that vision for low-cost drugs to life, but he’s not alone in his mission.
In 2018, five U.S. health systems representing over 450 hospitals launched a nonprofit generic drugmaker, Civica Rx. It started with 14 hospital-administered drugs that are usually under-supplied and has since struck a series of deals to include in its offerings.