How can the U.S. government lower the high price of prescription drugs? It may need to look to tech entrepreneur Mark Cuban for answers.
Medicare could have saved nearly $4 billion in 2020 by purchasing generic drugs at the same prices offered by Cost Plus Drug Company, Cuban's online pharmacy that launched this year, according to a study published Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
Cost Plus Drug offers certain generic drugs, such as the depression drug fluoxetine or blood pressure medication lisinopril, at discounted prices, by selling medications at a fixed markup of 15% plus a $3 flat fee, according to the company’s website. Cost Plus doesn't offer brand-name drugs or accept insurance, so patients pay for medications out of pocket.
The study "does show that Medicare is overpaying for some of the generic drugs," said Dr. Hussain Saleem Lalani, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the study’s lead author. "And this is a conservative estimate, so the actual savings are likely higher.”