Since late January, business executive Mark Cuban, most well-known for his ownership of NBA team Dallas Mavericks and his role in the television series Shark Tank, has retweeted a number of tweets praising his “Cost Plus Drug Company” for offering medication at low prices.
VERIFY viewer Kay emailed the team to ask if Mark Cuban has really started his own online pharmacy.
Did Mark Cuban start a real online drugstore?
Yes, Mark Cuban started a real online drugstore. It sells generic medication in partnership with a digital pharmacy.
WHAT WE FOUND
Mark Cuban’s online drugstore, Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, is a legitimate online store to buy medication. It’s registered as a “wholesale drug distributor” instead of a “pharmacy” because Mark Cuban’s store does not fill prescriptions itself — it works with a partner pharmacy to dispense medication.
Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company explains on its website it sets its prices by negotiating directly with the manufacturer and then adds a 15% markup, a $3 fee for pharmacy labor and the cost of shipping. The company does not accept insurance but will accept a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account card to pay for orders. It has carried a selection of generic medication since it opened in January, and can currently deliver in every U.S. state but North Carolina.
The mission page for Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company confirms its namesake’s involvement in the company as an investor, and lists Alexander Oshmyansky as its founder and CEO. Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company has a license as a wholesale prescription drug distributor in its home state of Texas, and its license can also be found in other states, such as Florida.
In an email, Oshmyansky explained that Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company’s exact license depends on the jurisdiction, but it’s typically registered as a pharmaceutical wholesaler or a virtual wholesaler.
“We essentially work with pharmaceutical companies to negotiate the best prices we can,” Oshmyansky said. “The details of the licensing vary from state-to-state. In some states, we register as a ‘virtual’ entity since we don’t have physical warehouses. About 17 states or so grant us reciprocity for our Texas wholesaler license without getting another specific license. We have dedicated regulatory staff to make sure we are in compliance with all state and federal requirements.”
But Mark Cuban’s company doesn’t do the pharmaceutical work itself. Rather than fill a person’s prescription and ship medication to customers, it uses a separate, digital pharmacy to fulfill orders.
“We then sell our products to TruePill,” Oshmyansky said. “They in turn are licensed in every state as a mail-order pharmacy, and they fulfill orders. They agree to pass on our pricing plus $3 pharmacist fee and use our branding.”
TruePill, Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company’s pharmaceutical partner, is an accredited digital pharmacy with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and its accreditation was confirmed through email by an NABP spokesperson. Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company has not applied for the NABP’s digital pharmacy accreditation, the spokesperson said.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says prescription drugs should only be purchased from wholesale drug distributors licensed in whichever state or states it is conducting business.