Did you know that 37% of Americans have skipped prescriptions due to cost? It makes sense; prescription drug prices are bonkers these days.
Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs Company (MCCPDC), an online pharmacy, is trying to change that. The company — started by billionaire “Shark Tank” star Mark Cuban to disrupt “Big Pharma” — offers more than 1,000 generic drugs (and a handful of brand-name ones) at a drastically lower price than retail pharmacies.
But does MCCPDC always have the absolute lowest price? Spoiler alert: yeah, pretty much. MCCPDC significantly beats retail pharmacies on pricing for commonly prescribed medications — and has even better savings for more rarely prescribed medications. We’ll dive into price comparison, benefits, and drawbacks of using MCCPDC. Because of course, nothing is absolutely perfect.
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So how is Cost Plus able to sell prescriptions for so cheap?
You’re probably wondering how this company can sell prescription meds for far less than traditional pharmacies and why those other pharmacies don’t do the same. First Cuban cuts out the middlemen (AKA insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers) and buys directly from pharmacy wholesalers. You simply pay the manufacturer’s price, plus a 15% markup to cover their overhead, a $3 pharmacy labor charge, and $5 shipping.
NOTE: MCCPDC doesn’t accept most insurance coverage. They’re adding more insurance plans in the coming months, but currently they only accept prescription insurance for Capital Blue Cross, Rightway, and “other select prescription plans.” If you aren’t sure if Cost Plus Drugs accepts your insurance, please contact your insurance company and ask if Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs is an “in-network pharmacy” with your prescription plan.
1. The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company has saved my family $94 in one month.
Just by taking a look at Twitter and Reddit threads, you’ll find that MCCPDC’s main customers are uninsured (or Medicare patients whose generic drugs aren’t covered). Or these customers were dropped from their plan or have high-deductible insurance plans.
Here’s my situation:
- My husband and I are both self-employed and on a private insurance plan with our two kids.
- We pay over $1,200 a month for our plan, which has a $14,000 family deductible.
- We pay 100% out of pocket for absolutely everything until we hit that deductible. That includes prescriptions.
I’d never used an online pharmacy before, but the process was surprisingly simple. I just looked up my medications on their website to see if they were covered (they were) and asked my doctor to send them to MCCPDC instead of my usual pharmacy. (MCCPDC’s website even has printout instructions to take to your provider). My medications came in the mail a few days later. It was so easy, and I loved the transparency of the drug pricing.
My husband and I got six prescriptions from MCCPDC and saved $94 in just one month. Plus I didn’t have to stand in line with my rowdy toddler at the particularly crowded pharmacy I use. I was pretty thrilled!
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2. You can save as much as 90% with Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs.
I looked at the top 10 most commonly prescribed medications that are available through MCCPDC in the U.S. Then I compared their 30-day supply price with the drug’s lowest available GoodRx coupon price and its average retail pharmacy price.
Things to keep in mind when looking at the pricing above:
- The MCCPDC price includes the base manufacturer’s price, plus a 15% markup and a $3 pharmacy labor fee.
- It doesn’t include the MCCPDC $5 shipping charge. MCCPDC charges a $5 flat rate no matter how many prescriptions you get, so bundling and ordering at the same time will help you save.
- The lowest GoodRx coupon price isn’t available everywhere; you have to go to the specific pharmacy that’s listed in the chart.
- These also don’t include pricing through GoodRx’s “One Time Offers.” (They offer you one extra-low price for one medication when you sign up for a free account). It also doesn’t include GoodRx’s Gold Membership, which has a monthly fee with several benefits — including even lower prices on some medications.
- All of the prices are for 30-day adult dosages.
- These all reflect out-of-pocket prices (not through insurance).
With the exception of Albuterol, MCCPDC wins for lowest price every time. But again, you have to calculate that $5 flat-rate shipping charge when deciding which to go with. A lot of the GoodRx prices are so close to theirs that the $5 shipping wouldn’t actually save you money. Walmart does have several of these medications on their $4 list, so maybe also check there for your specific medications when deciding where to order from.
3. Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs Company offers the biggest savings on less commonly prescribed medications.
In the table above, we’ve got the top 10 prescription drugs MCCPDC has that offer the most savings against average retail pharmacy prices. It’s staggering. Depending on the drug you need, you can save several hundreds to over $2,000 by shopping through MCCPDC.
NOTE: MCCPDC isn’t the only company that’s driving down the prices of generic drugs. Retail and independent pharmacies are being forced to compete by lowering prices. For example, Walmart’s $4 generic drug list has expanded to over 300 medications (for a 30-day supply), Amazon RxPass gives you unlimited generics for one monthly price, and GoodRx provides high-value pharmacy coupons and price comparisons.
4. Save hundreds of dollars when shopping for cancer or diabetes medications with MCCPDC.
Cancer Medications offered by MCCPDC:
Diabetes Medications offered by MCCPDC:
Although GoodRx discounts many of these same medications, the savings are nowhere near what Cost Plus Drugs offers. Take the cancer drug Abiraterone Acetate, for instance: $1,093 at most pharmacies vs. MCCPDC’s generic drug price of $36. That’s 96% in savings! And in the future, savings might get even better, since MCCPDC is looking into possibly producing and selling their own biosimilars, including insulin.
5. Not everyone can benefit from Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company.
Although millions of people will be able to save on their prescription drugs like my family, for some people, it actually costs more. Here’s who wouldn’t benefit from using MCCPDC:
- People who hit their insurance deductibles early, or people who have low deductibles — because once they hit that deductible, their insurance may pay for their medical expenses the rest of the year.
- People who need a specific brand-name drug (and not a generic).
- Children — MCCPDC only offers medications for adults.
- People who need their prescriptions immediately; it takes a few days to receive your meds after placing your order, so if you need it sooner than five days, it’s best to go elsewhere.
6. Overall, Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company gets two thumbs up from me.
MCCPDC won’t help absolutely everyone, but it’s a dang good start. They’ve already made a significant difference in thousands of people’s lives, especially cancer patients and diabetics. If you don’t have insurance, have a high deductible in your current insurance plan, or otherwise are unhappy with how much you’re paying for prescriptions, prepare to save significant money.