Mark Cuban hasn't 'f—ed up' the pharma industry yet

Mark Cuban launched his online drug business, Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co., in January 2022 with the plan to "f— up" the industry. He hasn't done that yet, he told Becker's in early April. 

In fall 2021, Mr. Cuban told one publication he wants to "f— up the drug industry in every way possible," and a few months later told another news outlet he wants to "just f— up the pharmaceutical industry so bad that they bleed."

To do this, though, "we need to get a lot bigger," Mr. Cuban said. 

He said this will come through a few different avenues, including on-the-ground sales with affiliate pharmacies — which started in mid-April with 36 locations across four states; adding more brand-name drugs, in addition to one from IBSA Pharma and three from Johnson & Johnson; and potentially offering specialty drugs. 

Cost Plus Drugs will not partner with big pharmacy chains because "they don't like us," he tweeted April 18.

"Our product is trust, and transparency supports that trust," he said. "People, hopefully, want to get everything from us. And that's where we want to be."

Here are four answers Mr. Cuban gave Becker's.

Question: IBSA is your first branded drug, and then Janssen brought three more. So, with 1,100-plus generics you're selling and four branded drugs, what is your ideal ratio for generics and —

Mark Cuban: We want them all.


Q: All?

MC: All. I don't know that we get into controlled substances yet. It'll depend on our relationship with the pharmacies and what we can do there. Obviously, some of the specialty drugs and higher-end therapies, you can't just sell from a drugstore or sell via mail order. So, there's going to be limits on what we can sell for the near future. But, we're not putting any specific limits on ourselves.


Q: What happens when a drug manufacturer sets the price that's high for a specialty drug, and they won't sell it for cheaper? What do you do in that case?

MC: We just can't sell it. ... There's not a whole lot of leverage that we have yet, but if we continue to scale and get bigger in terms of lives covered, then hopefully, it'll get to the point where they'll be missing out on sales if they don't. We have a long way to go; we're not anywhere near that.

As of early April, Cost Plus Drugs recorded 2.25 million accounts. 


Q: So you're saying you have to build leverage?

MC: I mean, leverage probably isn't the right word. We've only been doing this for 13 months — you can't pat yourself on the back. We've had successes in terms of patients and the money they've saved, but we haven't really accomplished anything yet.

Read about other recent moves from Mark Cuban here.

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