Meet the 3 PBMs partnered with Mark Cuban's pharmacy

After Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co. rerouted plans and partnered with a pharmacy benefit manager in September, the 1-year-old online pharmacy has grabbed two similar deals. 

The company chose Rightway, EmsanaRx and RxPreferred Benefits because "they pass through our pricing as is," Mr. Cuban told Becker's. On the company's site, Cost Plus calls itself "unPBM" because there are "no rebates or off-shore entities to be found here."

Traditional PBMs act like middlemen: They work between payers and pharmaceutical companies to negotiate drug prices. Their opaque business practices have raised concerns for years, and in June, the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into the six largest PBMs that nearly cover the whole PBM market. 

By partnering with these three not part of the federal probe, Cost Plus Drug entered the space of employer health plan benefits. Cost Plus Drug also waded further into the ocean that is the pharmacy industry with its first payer partner, Capital Blue Cross, with the collaboration beginning in 2023. 

Here's more information on each PBM:

  • Rightway does not include spread pricing or rebate retention, and it reports an 18 percent reduction in first-year prescription costs, according to its website. "Employers we work with every day are tired of these misaligned incentives, of these games and gimmicks. They want better. They want different. Rightway's PBM is delivering that," Rightway CEO Jordan Feldman told Becker's in September.

  • EmsanaRx is the only PBM designed as a public benefit corporation, meaning its leaders "make decisions based on public benefit without fear of liability, even if that results in less profit," its website says. It is an employer-funded healthcare pharmacy benefit company that tacks on "an admin fee and small fee on each Rx filled."

  • RxPreferred Benefits does not own any pharmacies to align with its promise of "no conflicts of interest," according to its website. This differs from some of the largest PBMs, including CVS Caremark. RxPreferred also serves employers, hospitals, hospices, brokers and third-party administrators.  

The 1-year-old online pharmacy said its original plan was to build its own PBM, but after announcing its partnership with Rightway, Cost Plus Drug CEO Alex Oshmyansky, MD, PhD, told Becker's that it "turned out to be much more efficient to partner with transparently minded and innovative PBMs."

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