Billionaire Mark Cuban Takes on a Tech Giant

The ‘Shark Tank’ star Mark Cuban is on a mission to bring down drug prices.

Mark Cuban is on a mission. 

The entrepreneur and star of “Shark Tank” is determined to reduce the price of drugs, making them accessible to all and preventing financial ruin among patients whose insurance does not cover them or covers them only in part.

He is an investor in Cost Plus Drugs, the online pharmacy founded by Alexander Oshmyansky. The company sells prescription drugs directly to consumers at low cost. 

“Our social mission of improving public health is just as important as the bottom line,” the company says on its website. 

“We’ve built a vertically integrated supply chain to transparently charge a standard markup on every drug we sell.”

Cost Plus Drugs “fills and delivers prescriptions at our cost plus a fixed 15% margin,” it adds.

Cuban the Disruptor

If the testimonials that abound on Cuban’s Twitter account are any indication, The consumers welcome his initiative. Here are some from the past few days:

“$6.60 for my allergy meds. I would usually pay $40 out of pocket even with insurance for about the same. This is awesome @mcuban @costplusdrugs,” a Twitter user said on Aug. 22.

“Decided to try @costplusdrugs this week because my new health insurance company  @AnthemBCBS denied a prior auth that my doc filled out for a $350/mo medication I’ve been on for over a year and was approved by my previous insurance company, ” another user wrote.  (ELV)

“I found a coupon for the med on  @GoodRx but it was still going to be $110/mo at  @cvspharmacy, who refused to help me figure out a way to get the drug at a cheaper price. I even asked @cvspharmacy if they could price match another pharmacy’s discount and they still refused,” the person continued.  (CVS) – Get CVS Health Corporation Report

“Then I remembered that I signed up for @costplusdrugs when @mcuban announced it. I just placed an order for a three month supply of my meds for $75 total and will have it within a week.”

Improper Use of Cuban’s Image

Cuban is already strongly popular from his participation on “Shark Tank” and his transformation of the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association. Some users go so far as to ask Cuban, the disruptor of the pharmacy industry, to run for president in 2024. 

But with his popularity also have come disadvantages.

One is that some people are using Cuban’s image and especially his efforts in the pharmacy industry to scam people on social media. For example, someone is hawking a product intended for men and they’re using Cuban’s image to lure people on Facebook. 

In a photomontage we see someone who is supposed to be Cuban holding a box of a fake product. “It is fake,” the billionaire warned on Aug. 21. “I get a continuous flow of emails from people asking why they get double charged, or why it hasn’t worked for them.”

The billionaire is particularly going after Facebook  (META) – Get Meta Platforms Inc. Report for allowing the scam to circulate even though it violates Facebook’s content policy. He also calls out American Express,  (AXP) – Get American Express Company Report Visa  (V) – Get Visa Inc. Report and Mastercard  (MA) – Get Mastercard Incorporated Report because the scammers accept their cards as means of payment.

“Yet neither @Meta, nor @Mastercard, @visa or @AmericanExpress, that are supposed to have fraud protection will do a damn thing!”

“The topic of alleged or fraudulent celebrity endorsements is something we regularly monitor for when our brand is referenced or supposedly made available to support purchases,” a spokesperson for Mastercard told TheStreet in an emailed statement.

“In these instances – and when we receive referrals or allegations of potentially illegal or unlawful content available for purchase with our products – we investigate the claims. If the claims are substantiated, we take immediate action,” the spokesperson added.

American Express and Visa didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment.

Meta did not respond to requests from TheStreet either.

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