Medicare could have saved $3.6 billion in a single year if it had bought generic drugs from Mark Cuban’s online pharmacy, according to a Harvard University report.
In the report, published this week in Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers from Brigham’s and Women’s Hospital with the Harvard Medical School made major claims that Medicare wastes money in the way it buys drugs.
Their report estimates the annual Medicare Part D spending on 89 generic drugs is $9.6 billion under the current purchasing model, in which the government is prohibited from buying drugs directly from manufacturers.
“If Medicare purchased generic drugs in the maximum quantity supplied by [Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co.], it could have saved $3.6 billion on 77 of 89 generic drugs,” reads the study, which notes the savings would come from cutting out drug distributors.
Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and celebrity investor on ABC’s Shark Tank, pushed into the pharmaceutical industry at the beginning of this year with Cost Plus Drug. The direct-to-consumer pharmacy buys generic drugs from manufacturers and sells them to consumers at the cost of ingredients with a 15% markup for acquisition, a $3 fee for labor and a $5 fee for shipping.
Cost Plus Drug sells more than 700 generic prescription drugs and does not yet accept insurance, emphasizing its accessibility to everyone.