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Billionaire investor Mark Cuban says his eponymous online drug company isn’t collecting customer data

Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs only sees limited personal data, according to its founder.
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It seems like a given nowadays that your data is out there. Out where? Nobody seems to know, but much of it is not private and often, companies are using it. Billionaire investor Mark Cuban’s low-cost drug company might be an exception.

The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company (we know, it’s a mouthful) offers about 1,100 generic drugs right now—at a 15% markup with $8 shipping and handling, according to the billionaire.

“We have generic Cialis. We sell an ungodly number of prescriptions for generic Cialis and Viagra. And Propecia,” Cuban said in an interview at September’s Emerging Tech Brew Summit. “Because you can get 90 tablets for $8.40 of generic Cialis. So there’s a lot of demand there. Wherever there’s the biggest delta in pricing, that’s where we get the greatest demand.”

To buy the drugs, users can sign up online and must provide basic information, such as their name, birthday, gender assigned at birth, and address. They also are asked to fill out a health survey and list allergies, health conditions and medications, vitamins or supplements being taken, and pregnancy status or plans to get pregnant. For patients with Capital Blue Cross, a Blue Cross Blue Shield carrier that is based in Pennsylvania, the insurer will cover those purchases starting next year.

However, Cuban said the online pharmacy does not collect data on its users—a likely concern for patients who are or could become pregnant in post-Roe America. (Mifepristone and misoprostol, the two drugs that can end a pregnancy, are not available for purchase at Cost Plus Drugs as of Nov. 21.)

“Nothing,” he said in regards to data on prescriptions. “Nope. The only data I have is what they buy and the state they buy from.”

He added that while the company sells medications, “our real product is trust.”

The big three pharmacy retailers—CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid—all collect a breadth of consumer data. Some of the data they collect can include social media account information, driver’s license numbers, and employment-related information, according to their privacy policies.

Doug Hirsch, co-founder and co-CEO of drug marketplace GoodRx, raised an eyebrow at whether it is feasible to not collect data in 2022.

“If you walk into a pharmacy and you purchase a product with them, they are going to know who you are, right?” he said. “I just want to be careful when we say consumer data, because without consumer data, you can’t do anything…This idea that you can do a completely anonymous experience is sort of impossible.”

Cost Plus Drugs’s privacy policy says the online pharmacy “may collect two basic types of information…1) information you provide directly to us, and 2) information that is automatically provided to us or collected through your use of our Online Services.” 

Cuban, in a follow-up email sent on Nov. 18, said that a transaction between Cost Plus Drugs and its customer requires that basic information be provided while setting up an account.

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