Mark Cuban is ready to say 'no'

"The goal is to be the low-cost provider for all drugs, period end of story," Mark Cuban said of his drug company. That singular focus requires saying no to a number of avenues and players. 

Mr. Cuban co-founded Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co. in May 2020 with Alex Oshmyansky, MD, PhD, a radiologist who emailed Mr. Cuban with a cold pitch for the company and now serves as its CEO. The company is organized as a public-benefit corporation, meaning it is for-profit but claims its social mission of improving public health is just as important as the bottom line. 

Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co. saw a busy Q1 after launching its online pharmacy in January and expanding in March with the addition of more than 50 medications to its offerings. Drugs at the pharmacy are sold with a 15 percent markup for price, a $3 pharmacy fee to pay the pharmacists it works with and a fee for shipping. The company is planning to begin generic drug manufacturing at a Houston-based plant, construction of which is in progress. 

In an interview for No Mercy, No Malice with Scott Galloway on CNN+, Mr. Cuban said the fulfillment he feels from seeing people gain access to more affordable drugs and medications is unmatched. Mr. Cuban says he wants disruption of the pharmaceutical industry to be his legacy. (He uses more colorful language to express the thought. Asked what one thing he really needs to do in the next several years, he said, "Just f— up the pharmaceutical industry so bad that they bleed.")

To build on the company's promising launch, Mr. Cuban is determined to maintain a singular focus — and that involves saying "no." 

First, he said he has no plans to bring venture capitalists aboard. "I don't want this to be about having to make somebody else any money," he shared in the CNN+ interview. 

Mr. Cuban also wants to avoid any movement of the pharmacy toward the virtual care space.

"The one industry where people say every minute of every day, 'we need lower prices' — this is it," he told CNN+. "We'll just have that very singular mission. You're not going to see us add bells and whistles. You're not going to see us get into telemedicine or telehealth. None of that. Just one singular mission: The lowest cost price for drugs — period end of story."

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