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Comparing Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company (MCCPDC) and Independent Pharmacies

Last updated Jul 21, 2022 | Pharmacy News

Let’s start off with, what is Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company (MCCPDC):

Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company (MCCPDS) was founded by Mark Cuban and Dr. Alexander Oshmyansky in January 2022. They have stated “At Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, we offer hundreds of common (and often life saving) drugs at understandable prices.” MCCPDC is able to offer low pricing because they “cut out the pharmacy middlemen and negotiate directly with manufacturers” In this blog, we will explore the differences between independent pharmacies and Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company and how MCCPDC could potentially affect independent pharmacies. 

MCCPDC Medication Prices are Determined by:

Markup on the cost of medication from the manufacturer.

Pharmacist fee

Shipping fee (This can vary depending on the prescription)

Now, who fills the medications at MCCPDC?

Per the company’s website, they work with Truepill pharmacies and pharmacists to fulfill medication orders and answer any questions.

Differences in MCCPDC and Independent Pharmacies

MCCPDC is often referred to as an online “pharmacy”among the media, but their business model differs drastically from that of a independent pharmacy. Below we explore deeper into what makes the concept of MCCPDC different from both pharmacies and other digital platforms in the pharmaceutical industry.

MCCPDC Does Not Accept Insurance

One of the biggest differentiators between MCCPDC and independent pharmacies is MCCPDC does not accept insurance. Patients will be paying out of pocket for their prescription medications.

MCCPDC Does Not Reach Out for Refills or Transfers 

MCCPDC does not call prescribers for new prescriptions, reach out to prescribers when a prescription needs refills, or perform transfers from other pharmacies. The patients are solely responsible for having the prescription sent to the pharmacy from their prescribers. The patients also are not able to choose a specific manufacturer for their medication. While they can submit a request, MCCPDC does not state they will fulfill these. 

Medications Offered with MCCPDC are Limited 

At this time patients are also unable to get all of their prescriptions filled from MCCPDC; they only offer certain medications at the moment and no controls are included.

MCCPDC Skips the Personal Touch That Pharmacies Offer

 The personal care and connection one receives at an independent pharmacy will also be missing for the patients filling from MCCPDC. Prescriptions will be electronically managed and  delivered directly to patients, leading to very little interaction (if any) with a pharmacy team.

Potential Impacts of MCCPDC on Independent Pharmacies

Misinformation About Transparency 

By using the word “transparent” in their mission, this can mislead people to think that all pharmacies are not transparent and thus, perhaps untrustworthy. For independent pharmacies, they are not able to be fully transparent under PBM contracts. Some customers do not know exactly how the system operates and may become upset with their independent pharmacies. Correcting this misconception may be something independent pharmacies are forced to address.  

Shedding Light on PBMs 

Although the narrative MCCPDS takes regarding “transparency” may lead to misconceptions, it could also bring attention to PBMs and the challenges they impose on independent pharmacies. Currently there is not a great level of understanding of PBMs and how they operate. However,  some pharmacy owners believe that the attention that is being generated from MCCPDS could ultimately shine light on the inner workings of PBMs and maybe even lead to regulations that could benefit independent pharmacies and thus lead to more fair pricing for their patients.

Increased Difficulty for Medication Reconciliation: 

Some patients will fill medications at traditional pharmacies and MCCPDC due to the differing prices. While this is helpful for saving the patient money, the issue is that because MCCPDC is not processing them through insurance, the medications will not fully show on the patient’s insurance profile. This will lead to dispensing pharmacists not having a complete list of medications so when calling for a medication reconciliation or looking at interactions, their workload will be increased as they search for answers. 

Patients May Be Considered Non-Compliant by Insurance:

Patients may be considered non-compliant by their insurance company if they fill their medications out of network (ie: pay cash at MCCPDC). This becomes an issue for independent pharmacies because if their patients are no longer filling these medications with them, the patient appears to be non-compliant and the pharmacy is then hit with higher fees.

Overall Thoughts on MCCPDC Vs. Independent Pharmacies

While MCCPDC can provide life-saving medications at lower costs, there are still quite a bit of intricacies that need to be addressed. There are stark differences between MCCPDC and independent pharmacies and over time, hopefully we can see them coexist in the best manner possible for patients. 

References:

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