SmithRx, a pharmacy benefits management (PBM) company, joined forces with TheracosBio to facilitate patients’ access to the newly approved type 2 diabetes medication, Brenzavvy (bexagliflozin), through the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company platform.
“Unlike traditional PBMs, SmithRx prioritizes transparency and up-front cost savings. Diabetes medications are most employers’ top category of drug expense, so we’re looking for ways to make care more affordable for employers and patients,” said Jake Frenz, CEO and founder of SmithRx, in the company’s press release. “We’re excited to work with TheracosBio and Cost Plus Drugs to bring Brenzavvy to our members.”
What is SmithRx?
Established in 2016, SmithRx is a privately-held technology firm that strives to mitigate prescription drug expenses by adopting a completely transparent, pass-through PBM business model. Conventional PBMs administer prescription drug benefits for health insurers, Medicare Part D drug plans, major employers and various payers. PBMs play a pivotal role in managing drug expenditure through negotiations with drug manufacturers and pharmacies. Their influence extends to shaping overall drug expenses for insurers, influencing patients’ medication accessibility and determining pharmacy reimbursement rates.
SmithRx operates independently from insurance companies and pharmacies, so their incentives align with their customers. Their modern technology and innovative cost savings programs connect their members to the lowest-cost drugs. Through this unique strategy, SmithRx is pioneering avenues toward more accessible medications, concurrently granting clients unrestricted entry to their data. Diverging from conventional PBMs that rely on spread pricing, SmithRx employs a straightforward per member per month (PMPM) revenue structure impeccably aligned with the affordability objectives of its clientele.
Collaborating with over 300 broker offices, SmithRx extends its services to over 3,500 employers nationwide. SmithRx’s clientele experience substantial savings in pharmacy benefit expenses, frequently reaching 30 percent or higher. This considerable reduction is pivotal in alleviating financial pressures for local businesses nationwide.
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Cost Plus Drugs Initiative by Mark Cuban
The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company is a public-benefit corporation launched by billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban with a mission to improve public health by revolutionizing pharmaceutical industry operations. It provides generic drugs through direct contracts with manufacturers and charges a standard markup on every drug it sells; at the same time, it provides complete price transparency from manufacturing to prescription delivery and everywhere in between.
Introduced in January 2022, the online pharmacy CostPlusDrugs.com currently offers a selection of over 1,000 prescription items conveniently delivered via mail to numerous satisfied customers daily. Cost Plus Drugs is actively collaborating with health plans, managed-care entities, PBMs, and self-insured employers to extend these cost savings to employee-sponsored benefit plans nationwide. Their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Dallas, Texas, is scheduled to open this year, which can further bring down the costs of drugs and address drug shortages.
Brenzavvy belongs to the class of oral sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors and is an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes, including patients with stage 3 chronic kidney disease. Its approval in January 2023 was grounded in an extensive clinical program comprising 23 trials that enrolled over 5,000 adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
The dosing regimen for Brenzavvy involves a single 20 mg tablet taken each morning. A 30-day supply of Brenzavvy through Cost Plus Drugs is $47.85, plus shipping and handling. Before commencing treatment, evaluating the patient’s renal function and fluid balance is advised.
It’s important to note that Brenzavvy is not advisable for patients with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) below 30mL/min/1.732 and is strictly contraindicated for patients undergoing dialysis. It is also contraindicated with patients having a predisposition to ketoacidosis, and ketone monitoring is advised in patients. The most common side effects of taking Brenzavvy include female genital mycotic infections, urinary tract infections and changes in urination. Still, more severe side effects are possible, including but not limited to ketoacidosis, increased risk of lower limb amputation, hypoglycemia with concomitant use with insulin and necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum.