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Shanthi Rexaline

Mark Cuban Says 'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Inspired His Cost Plus Drug Company

Billionaire investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has revolutionized healthcare with his “Cost Plus Drug Company,” has taken inspiration from someone who is an antithesis of sorts, the Shark Tank investor revealed to Recode’s Kara Swisher in the 2022 Code conference.

What Happened: Cuban told Swisher, who is hosting the Vox’ Code 2022 conference in Los Angeles one last time, that tainted “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, who, as CEO of Turing Pharma, had jacked up prices of key drugs for diseases such as AIDS, malaria and cancer by over 5,000%, influenced him to co-found Cost Plus Drug Company.

“If he could jack things up 1,500 percent or whatever it was, why can’t we cut it, right? Because it shows there’s pricing fungibility there,” Cuban reportedly said.

He slammed the healthcare system in the U.S., saying that even in 2022, people are forced to choose between food or housing and medication, and, as a result, they are going without it or dying.

See also: Mark Cuban Warns Crypto Faces Nightmare From SEC's Next Move: 'Wait Till You See What They Come Up With'

How Cost Plus Drug Came About: Delving into the origins of Cost Plus Drug, Cuban noted that he got a cold email from Dr. Alex Oshmyansky, who sought investment to start a pharmacy in Denver to deal with drug shortages. He replied to him that what was needed is transparency and an option that will help them save a lot of money.

On why he zeroed in on Cost Plug Drug, Cuban said he saw it as a way to change a problem and make people’s lives better.

“And you can probably, if not make money, at least break even doing it, why wouldn’t you,” he said.

Most of the healthcare problems are pushed off to charity and foundations now but it’s a never-ending cycle of having to raise money to solve the problem, the billionaire said.

According to Cuban, the venture aimed at taking take a significant part of that problem and making it a whole lot better instead of just solving it.

He also disclosed that his affordable medicines supply company, launched in January, is close to reaching one million customers.

Why It's Important: Cuban said Cost Plus Drug would continue to sell birth control and “morning after” contraceptive pills despite abortion being banned in several U.S. states.

When a member of the audience pointed out that he would be violating laws, especially in Texas, his state of residence, Cuban responded, “Let them come after me.”

Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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