Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban launches company to make medications more affordable

With the recent launch of his online pharmacy Cost Plus Drugs, Mark Cuban, Pitt ’76, is attempting to bring down prices of medications for Americans. The company aims to bypass health care industry “middlemen” and negotiate pricing directly with manufacturers to bring down costs. 

Empathy inspired the decision

Like most Americans, Mark was unsettled by stories like those of “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, who notoriously inflated the price of a drug used to treat AIDS and cancer patients by 5000%. 

He was driven to launch a venture that could just as easily cut the price of drugs to ensure affordable medications for more Americans.

“There are people who have to make decisions between food and medications. Everyone should have safe, affordable medicines with transparent prices.” 

Overcoming obstacles

Like many of his ventures, Cuban’s model threatens to disrupt America’s pharmaceutical industry. Cutting out the middle men, pharmacy benefit managers, a long established and heavily lobbied organization, is a risk.

He says, “It’s all about price.”  By negotiating directly with manufacturers the company can lower costs for consumers. And that’s how he believes the company will succeed. 

“If you’re trying to optimize returns for investors, you’re not going to be able to do this. We’re offering drugs for the lowest cost and we make a little money so we can continue to reinvest. That is why we’re able to do this and others have not.” 

By charging manufacturer’s prices plus a modest %15 markup and pharmacist fee, Cuban’s venture is serving a desperately needed public service, while establishing a self-sustaining business model.

Capitalism can be compassionate

Cuban is well-known for his support of entrepreneurs, as showcased by the hit show, Shark Tank. He is a philanthropist who created a foundation to support causes including the Fallen Patriot Fund and youth artificial intelligence workshops. His generous contributions have also supported education, health, women’s rights, and disaster relief.  

Pilam at Heart

Cuban was born in Pittsburgh and as a senior in high school, he enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh where he joined Pilam in 1976. Though he transferred to Indiana University to earn his degree, he is still an enthusiastic supporter of the PA Gamma Sigma chapter and Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity.

From time to time he’ll even take a moment from his busy schedule to help our chapters out with rush.

Article written by Shawn Mahoney ’92 Temple U