After launching as a director-to-consumer startup in January, the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company is targeting the employer market.
The Dallas-based company announced Thursday that it is is joining forces with pharmacy manager EmsanaRx to launch EmsanaRx Plus, a product that gives employers access to low-cost prescription drugs.
Price plus medication sells nearly 1,000 prescription drugs — sometimes 80% less than regular generics — that are delivered to consumers’ homes. Based in Louisville, Kentucky EmsanaRxmeanwhile, it works with self-funded employers to provide pharmacy benefits. The PBM was created by the Purchaser Business Group on Health, a nonprofit organization representing 40 public health employers and purchasers.
EmsanaRx Plus is a stand-alone product that “complements” current self-funded employer drug benefit offerings, said Greg Baker, CEO of EmsanaRx. The product gives employers and their employees access to Cost Plus Drugs’ discounted medications. Employers who sign up for EmsanaRx will be charged a flat prescription fee, Baker said.
“[EmsanaRx Plus] controls the ever-increasing cost of health care for employers by supplying drugs at greatly discounted prices, contrary to the intact financial models at traditional PBMs and pharmaceutical manufacturers that earn substantial profits by topping up drug costs before rebates are applied,” it wrote Baker in email.
Cost Plus Drugs chose to break away from selling exclusively to consumers because it allows “us to save the health care system as a whole money by offering a way to save employers millions of dollars in their health care costs,” Alex Oshmianski, the company’s founder and CEO, wrote in an email. Employers cover health insurance for about half of all Americans, according to the eHealth.
He added that this furthers Cost Plus Drugs’ mission to be disruptive in the prescription drug space.
“This helps us move closer to eliminating the practice of grossly inflated false ‘list’ prices for pharmaceuticals that patients are often asked to pay, especially if they are on a high-deductible plan,” Oshmianski said.
Mark Cuban said it’s a mission EmsanaRx shares.
“Like Cost Plus Drugs, EmsanaRx is working to disrupt the current pharmacy supply chain to eliminate the unnecessary markup and profiteering that burdens businesses and consumers with high drug costs,” Mark Cuban said in a news release.
EmsanaRx is the second PBM Cost Plus Drugs has partnered with after announcement in September united with The right way. The prescription drug company also announced its first insurance partner in October; Capital Blue Cross members will have access to Cost Plus Drugs starting in 2023.
It remains to be seen how successful Cost Plus Drugs will be in taking market share away from large PBMs, which often work with benefits consultants who provide guidance to employers. Especially considering that large consultants often have established relationships with leading PBMs.
Photo credit; hillwoman2. Getty Images