(Bloomberg) -- Mark Cuban urged President Joe Biden to go further to rein in prescription drug costs, a key element of his reelection pitch, as he backed the incumbent ahead of a likely November rematch against Donald Trump.

The billionaire entrepreneur and minority owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks visited the White House on Monday in his role as co-founder of the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co. for a roundtable on drug prices. 

The company sells prescription drugs at prices based on the acquisition cost plus transparent mark-ups and fees, a model in contrast to the complex formulas and rebates for drug prices that sometimes lead to high costs.

Cuban told Bloomberg News he cast a ballot for Nikki Haley in the Texas GOP primary but would back Biden over the former president. 

Biden, though, needed to do more to loosen the grip of pharmacy benefit managers, Cuban said. “Just stop doing business with them,” he said, adding that if the administration stopped working with PBMs “the whole industry changes in 10 seconds.”

Cuban’s company is taking aim at a byzantine supply chain that has long drawn criticism from pharmacies, employers, patients and policymakers. PBMs, as they are known, say they reduce costs by negotiating discounts and rebates on the prices drugmakers set, but critics accuse them of failing to pass on those savings. The industry is dominated by three companies that process about 80% of prescription claims, units of CVS Health Corp., Cigna Group, and UnitedHealth Group Inc.

The arrangements impacting who pays what for medicines have come under scrutiny, with Congress weighing transparency rules and other reforms. 

Biden has regularly touted his efforts to curb drug prices on the campaign trail, part of a broader effort to keep costs down for American households, with polls showing voters give him poor marks for his handling of the economy, in particular over rising prices.

Cuban said Biden’s reforms to allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of some drugs was a “good start” and that “for Medicare patients, they’ve been off-the-charts amazing, perfect.” 

“But everything else,” he continued, ending his sentence with a shrug. “Right?”

“While Mr. Cuban’s comments were unfortunate and not an accurate representation of our industry, we respect his efforts to introduce new ways to drive prescription drug affordability for patients, a mission we share,” a spokesperson for the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which represents PBMs, said in a statement. “We are glad that Cost Plus has been able to partner with multiple PBMs to advance that work.”

Backing Biden

Cuban also downplayed concerns about Biden’s age.

“If they were having his last wake, and it was him versus Trump, and he was being given last rites, I would still vote for Joe Biden,” Cuban said. He called his vote for Haley in Texas, one of 15 GOP states voting on Super Tuesday, a “protest vote against Trump.” 

The White House session on drug costs was led by a pair of senior Biden aides, National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard and Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden. 

“The cost of healthcare is unacceptably high for too many Americans and President Biden has been fighting to bring down health care costs,” Brainard said.

Cuban urged government health programs including Medicare and Medicaid to stop working with the largest PBMs.

“The biggest three PBMs will make you think they’re so big that if you don’t work with them, everything will collapse,” Cuban said at the event. “They are everything that is wrong with this industry.” 

--With assistance from John Tozzi.

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