New generics company to offer low-cost versions of high-cost generics Posted 29/01/2021

Billionaire Marc Cuban has launched a new generics company – Marc Cuban Cost Plus – which ‘is dedicated to producing low-cost versions of high-cost generic drugs’.

The company’s goal ‘is that everyone should be able to afford their medicine’ and has pledged ‘to provide radical transparency’ in how its drugs are priced.

Marc Cuban Cost Plus states that it will ‘let everyone know what it costs to manufacture, distribute and market our drugs to pharmacies. We add a flat 15% margin to get our wholesale prices. This makes sure we remain viable and profitable. There are no hidden costs, no middlemen, no rebates only available to insurance companies. Everybody gets the same low price for every drug we make’.

The first product the company is producing is albendazole. The drug is an anthelmintic or antiparasitic drug that prevents newly hatched insect larvae (worms) from growing or multiplying in the body. According to Marc Cuban Cost Plus, it currently has a list price of approximately US$225 per tablet. Mark Cuban Cost Plus says that the costs to make and distribute the drug are approximately US$13.00 per tablet. A 15% mark-up means that the wholesale price to pharmacies, clinics and hospitals, etc., will be US$15 per tablet and they suggest a retail price of US$20 per tablet. The company says that patients with insurance should then be able to get their hands on the drug for less than a dollar a tablet.

Marc Cuban Cost Plus has provided a donation of 10,000 albendazole pills as part of a collaboration between researchers at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug to aid researchers in providing care for children with hookworm infection in rural Alabama. Dr Alex Oshmyansky, CEO of Mark Cuban Cost Plus said, ‘we are happy to be able to manufacture it for free for this research and provide it at significantly decreased prices to the rest of the US market’.

Hookworm infection is caused by a worm parasite, with the most serious effect being blood loss that can lead to anaemia, protein loss, cognitive disabilities and stunted growth in children. Hookworm infects over half a billion people in the world and is endemic in resource-limited areas of Africa, China and Latin America, but also is seen in rural areas of Alabama and likely in other impoverished areas in the Southern United States with poor sewage and sanitation due to faecal contamination.

Dr Rojelio Mejia, Assistant Professor of paediatrics at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor and director of the Laboratory of Human Parasitology at the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, has been studying the prevalence of this disease in rural Alabama and throughout the US. This new study will look at the prevalence of hookworm infection in children between two and 18 years of age. Dr Mejia’s team will continue to follow those in the study who receive the albendazole to monitor for clearance of the parasite infection.

Dr Mejia said that the cost of albendazole is often more than the grants he receives for the research. He added that ‘this collaboration and donation is a game changer for helping people living in poverty and with this terrible infection’.

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Source: Marc Cuban Cost Plus, Mirage News

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