Time has an excellent piece about Mark Cuban, the "tech titan, Dallas Mavericks owner, and star of ABC’s Shark Tank," whose newest venture, Cost Plus Drugs, is an effort to build a business by attacking the high cost of pharmaceuticals.
"Cost Plus Drugs, which launched in January, is Cuban’s attempt to prove that disruption can be a form of benevolence. The for-profit online pharmacy aims to undercut the health care industry by selling generic drugs for everything from asthma to glaucoma to rheumatoid arthritis for a fraction of the typical price. Cuban likes to say that the company’s real product is transparency: in an industry where hospitals can sell cancer drugs at a 600% markup, Cost Plus sells generic medications for the cost of manufacturing them, plus a 15% markup and shipping fees. The goal, says Cuban, is to become the biggest low-cost provider of medication in America.
"Though Cuban won’t say exactly how much of the company he owns, he calls the new online pharmacy a win-win. If established pharmacies keep charging patients artificially high prices, Cost Plus may emerge as a popular low-cost alternative. If the industry slashes consumer prices to compete, he’ll have almost single-handedly brought reform to an industry that stubbornly resists it. 'The incumbents could come along and copy us, get a heart, get a conscience,' Cuban says. 'That would be OK'."
Time goes on:
"Cost Plus Drugs represents a billionaire’s search for meaning in a world that’s increasingly skeptical of the power of the über-rich. Cuban’s counterparts in the 0.01% have become political megadonors, started global foundations, become patrons of the arts and humanities. He prefers to build his legacy the way he’s built his fortune: through entrepreneurship. Cost Plus Drugs is a kind of middle path between progressive reform and philanthropic giving, one that aims to disrupt predatory markets as a way of regulating them."
You can read the entire story here.