Project Entrepreneur Alex Oshmyansky Switched from Nonprofit to Profit to Raise Funds to Enable Project; Let Mark Cuban Take Credit for Project

(p. B1) DALLAS—When Mark Cuban got an email in 2018 from a stranger asking if he wanted to invest in a company dedicated to bringing down the cost of prescription drugs, he replied: “Tell me more.”

Today, the Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur is helping steer the fledgling startup as it takes aim at high prescription drug prices and the industry middlemen who he says keeps them that way.

The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co. PBC, born from that brief email pitch from the company’s founder, Alex Oshmyansky, buys generic drugs from pharmaceutical manufacturers and sells them directly to patients online, rather than charging their insurance providers. By cutting out intermediaries and using a transparent pricing system, the pharmacy says it charges less than rivals for drugs: a 15% profit markup on a medicine’s cost, plus several dollars in fees for shipping and labor.

. . .

(p. B4) Several startups are attempting to reinvent parts of the pharmaceutical supply chain, removing costs by taking control of reimbursement, manufacturing and distribution.

Some firms, like ProvideGx and Civica Rx, are making drugs themselves so that they can control pricing and supply volumes. Others are selling directly to patients, bypassing the middleman known as pharmacy-benefit managers that traditionally handle drug coverage for health insurers.

A radiologist and former math prodigy, Dr. Oshmyansky received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder at age 18, followed by an M.D. from Duke University and a Ph.D. in math from Oxford. He had the idea for a pharmacy after growing frustrated with pharmaceutical-industry pricing practices, such as companies hiking prices dramatically on decades-old drugs.

He planted the seed for the Cuban pharmacy in 2015 when he founded Osh’s Not-for-Profit Pharmaceuticals with a mission of manufacturing generic drugs and selling them to hospitals at a small markup on its costs.

He struggled to find investors to fund a nonprofit drug company, however, and eventually transitioned Osh’s into a for-profit entity. In 2018, he secured $1 million from investors through the Silicon Valley startup-incubator Y Combinator.

A few months later, in 2018, Dr. Oshmyansky emailed Mr. Cuban at his publicly available email address.

. . .

Eventually, Dr. Oshmyansky agreed to rename the company after Mr. Cuban in a bid to trade on his celebrity and attract free publicity.

For the full story, see:

Joseph Walker. “Mark Cuban Lands a Job at an Online Pharmacy.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022): B1 & B4.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date December 9, 2022, and has the title “Mark Cuban Has New Job: Working at Online Discount Pharmacy.”)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *