Amazon RxPass and Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Company aren’t as revolutionary about buying cheap generic drugs as they seem.

Earlier this week, Amazon Launched RxPass, a prescription drug service that costs Prime members $5 per month for as many eligible generic drugs as they need. This announcement comes after the disclosure, last January, of else A new prescription initiative, Cost Plus Drug Company, is an online pharmacy developed by billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban. By cutting out middlemen, Cubans promise to offer many generic drugs at a fraction of the cost charged by other pharmacies. Both assistants remove health insurance from the equation, allowing the process of buying prescriptions to look more like buying paper towels.

Because the average American spend $1,300 Generic for prescribed medications, more than people in Any other countryy, and millions of americans Not insuredIt generated a lot of ads interest. Given that this is Mark Cuban, larger-than-life investor Shark tank Fame, Amazon, change society sinner Addictive, it is natural to expect that both assistants will malfunction and fulfill.

I reached out to a group of drug pricing specialists to get their opinion. Most of them were outright outraged at how revolutionary either project was. Here’s a look at why that is, how Kobe and Amazon can continue to make millions while charging so little, and some guidance on how to find the cheapest drugs.

Let’s start with Amazon. The company has maintained Online pharmacy for more than two years. What’s different about this new offering is that for a flat fee, you can get all the Qualified generic prescriptions you need. Get Lisinopril, a widely prescribed high blood pressure medication; Estradiol, an estrogen medication. And Bupropion Depression Cure, Generic Version of Wellbutrin, for Only $5, Including Shipping! In order to participate, you must first have an Amazon Prime account, which currently costs $139 per year. Still, given that More than 200 million people They are already prime members and that sounds huge.

That’s not the case, said Karen Van Nuys, executive director of the Life Sciences Value Innovation Program at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, who called the announcement “less exciting than it could have been.” said Van Nuys who published the journal Mounir report on generic drug pricing last year. In addition to Amazon The list includes 50 or more generic drugs. So it feels like $5 for 30 days is actually not that impressive. While you’ll never go over $5, someone who takes multiple drugs is unlikely to find it covered. Others note that while focusing on generics is beneficial—since they account for the majority of prescriptions—the more expensive drugs are often the brand-name drugs. Scrolling is also prohibited for clients in a a handful of statesincluding ca, and individuals who have Medicare and Medicaid.

However, it’s no mystery that this was a smart move for Amazon. First of all, since most of the generics they include are so cheap – and they already have the shipping infrastructure in place – it probably shouldn’t be too hard for them to break even. Once they start offering the drugs within a few hours, this will enhance their appeal even more. “Amazon’s real goal is probably to become the king of online pharmacies, replacing many retail and in-person pharmacies over time,” he said. John Low, a health economist, is the moderator of the UCLA Symposium on Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy, via email. It provided useful context that the average retail cost for a generic is between $20 and $30.

Now let’s take a look at Mark Cuban’s efforts. Costplus offers Cuban pharmaceuticals Hundreds of generic drugs. The idea is that Cuban negotiates directly with wholesalers and bypasses price inflation brokers. Then, in an unusually transparent move, he raised all prices by just 15 percent, handling $3 pharmacy fees and $5 shipping fees. Unlike Amazon, there are no major restrictions on who can use it and no membership is required. Let’s revisit those drugs from before:

• Lisinopril: starting $8.60 for 30 Cubans including charging.

• Estradiol: starting $10.10 including shipping.

• Bupropion: starting with $9.80 including shipping.

Where Cuban’s efforts really stand out is that there are many drugs that aren’t offered through Amazon. One Cuban example He loves to dodgeImatinib, a general treatment for leukemia. He charges about $47 per month, while other retailers charge $9,657, he announced in a press release last year.

However, this may exaggerate the novelty of what it offers. Craig Garthwaitea professor who studies pricing and innovation in the biopharmaceutical sector at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, noted that cheaper options have long been in the cards. Available If you know where to look.

Since the advent of Imatinib in many News articles Around CostPlus, let’s use 60 100mg tablets as an example:

Manufacturing cost according to CostPlus: $19.80

• CostPlus Purchase: $25.80 plus $5 shipping $30.80

Costco: about $130.

GeniusRx: $120.

• GoodRx’s Prescription comparison tool (Very useful for comparing options!) It appears while CVS charges $10,624 and RiteAid fees $5,460You can also get a coupon to reduce it to $547 in cvs and $51 At RiteAid.

• Amazon Walmart: Not available.

Yes, the Cuban beats them all. And even if coupons come close to Coupon prices, there are plenty of reasons to force people to become coupon experts. Not The perfect way to counter inflated drug costs. But the savings aren’t quite as dramatic as some of the frameworks of his endeavors make them seem. His project, along with Amazon, still provides an important reminder: Generic drug prices are far from standard across the board, and so we ought to Be shopping.

They also offer a second lesson: Insurance isn’t always as beneficial as many of us assume. Amazon and Cuban both offer these excellent prices without insurance. how is that possible?! Largely because “generic drugs are often exploited by middlemen who make big profits at the expense of patients and the companies that make the drugs,” explained Allen Goldberg, a spokesperson for accessible drug association, Trade organization representing manufacturers and distributors of generic prescription drugs. Sometimes this means that for all your effort to extract your insurance card number, you’ll pay the same amount without it.

Sometimes, as Van Nuys found at USC, that means you’ll pay more. Yes more! The good news for uninsured and uninsured people: If a generic type is available, with careful sourcing, you may be able to avoid any cost. disadvantage.

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