Amazon Takes On Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Co. With Subscription Plan As Giants Look To Disrupt $365 Billion Prescription Drug Market
Jan 26th, 2023 10:49 EST
The U.S. healthcare system has long been criticized for its endless inefficiencies and rising costs. Endless horror stories have come out in recent years about people being saddled with six-figure debt from medical operations or dying because they couldn’t afford the life-saving medications they needed.
Insurance companies often artificially inflate prices so they can charge hefty copays that can cost more money than the actual value of the prescription. With various predatory pricing tactics and the industry skimming billions off in pursuit of profits, healthcare costs have gotten out of hand.
A few big players have set out to disrupt the broken $365 billion prescription drug market by cutting out these companies completely. One of the most notable players in the space is billionaire “Shark Tank” star and owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban. Cuban started Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs Co. in January 2022 to drastically reduce costs by cutting out insurance and negotiating directly with drug manufacturers. As the name implies, the company makes money selling the drugs at cost, plus a 15% margin. The site charges $5 for shipping, and you can get your prescription delivered to your door.
Cuban notes that people who try to do what he has with Cost Plus Drugs typically get bought out and shut down. But Cuban says his planned longevity in the market comes from the fact that he can’t be bought.
An even bigger player recently announced plans to get into the space. Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) now offers RxPass, a drug subscription service exclusively for Prime members. The subscription costs $5 per month to ship eligible prescription medications to customers’ doorsteps. The new program notes that if you pay more than $5 per month for eligible prescription drugs, the service will save you money. The $5 flat fee covers shipping multiple subscriptions to customers each month.
The program has limitations, but in combination with the recent launch of Amazon Pharmacy, the company’s generic drug store, Amazon is likely saving Americans a substantial amount of money.
Disruptive healthcare startups: The healthcare industry is becoming a hotbed for disruptive companies and technology. From robotic arms that can perform surgery to revolutionary stress-relief startups, things are changing fast. One startup, Sensate, thinks it has invented a quick and easy solution to combat stress. The device activates the vagus nerve, similar to when
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you’re singing or laughing, and naturally reduces stress. The startup has seen substantial traction, with retail investors and venture capitalists alike having invested over $2 million in the startup’s ongoing Wefunder campaign.
These at-home solutions have become more commonplace since the pandemic. As part of its expansion into the healthcare space, Amazon opened a telehealth business, but it was shuttered at the end of 2022.
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