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“The beauty of Gemini”— Why Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs switched to Google Workspace

June 18, 2024
The Google Workspace Team

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Mark Cuban on the power of Gemini for Google Workspace:

Snapshot: Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs is transforming the pharmaceutical industry in the United States. Discover why they migrated from Microsoft to Google Workspace as their platform for boosting collaboration and productivity. With every employee now having Gemini for Google Workspace, the company:

  • Can save approximately 5 hours a week per employee with AI capabilities in Gmail alone. 

  • Can drive inclusion and productivity for everyone, with real-time captions in multiple languages and automatic transcriptions.

  • Is working to streamline time-consuming, manual processes that are the hallmarks of their industry, with innovations like AI-generated transcriptions and auto-formatting of pharmaceutical lab results or FDA compliance documentation.

  • Extends technical capabilities to a broader range of roles with tools like Gemini Code Assist, from Google Cloud, which will democratize coding and help the company stay nimble without a dedicated team of developers.

  • Can safeguard its most important data and intellectual property, fortified by Workspace’s zero-trust, cloud native foundation, and Gmail’s ability to block more than 99.9% of all spam, phishing attempts, and malware from reaching their employee inboxes.

Origin story

Can a single email begin to disrupt an entire industry? 

After seeing patients suffer because they couldn’t afford the drugs they needed, Dr. Alex Oshmyansky spent years trying to raise the funding to form a nonprofit to sell drugs at a lower cost. “I failed spectacularly,” he recalls. “Didn’t raise a single dime beyond what I put in myself. Then, on a whim, I saw that Mark Cuban had a public-facing Gmail address, and I figured why not give it a shot?” Cuban gets 1,000+ emails a day, but he’s also the ultimate zero-inbox practitioner, so when Alex’s email struck a chord, he responded within five minutes. 

Prescription drug prices in the United States average nearly three times more than those in 33 other nations. As Alex explains it, the US surge in pricing began when Pharmacy Benefit Managers established themselves as the middlemen between insurance providers and the drug makers.

As a result, prescription drug prices have skyrocketed over the decades. After Alex teamed up with Mark Cuban, they created a vision for a radically different pharmaceutical supply company, driven by Mark’s idea that trust and transparency were missing from the industry. “We founded the company with the idea that we were going to show customers what they paid for a drug, and be transparent about their markup,” says Alex. “Together, we’ve upended the status quo for drug pricing in America.”

What Cost Plus Drugs offers consumers as part of their mission

The switch to Google Workspace and Gemini

Today, the Cost Plus Drugs business is based in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas, known for its street murals, quirky art galleries, and indie music scene. In addition to the company’s manufacturing plant where they make drugs they’re not able to purchase, they also have a distributed team that manages the business. “We’ve got folks who are remote in Indiana, Boston, even Canada, helping us navigate this giant bureaucracy of the pharmaceutical supply chain,” Alex says. “I jokingly call us paper-pushers for humanity.”

Exploring Gemini for Workspace to generate images in Slides

In pursuit of their mission for trust and transparency, Cuban was hyper-focused on making the company as connected and productive as possible. This was what drove the company to migrate to Google Workspace from Microsoft. As Mark sees it, the generative AI capabilities in Gemini for Workspace will redefine productivity and learning for every employee, whether they’re creating a prescription drug or a spreadsheet: 

“All the apps—Sheets, Docs, Drive, Meet—they all work with each other, but you’ve got to have Gemini behind it [...] like a whole team of experts working for you. It not only summarizes mountains of information, and helps you communicate the right way, it can show you the things that matter most.”

Cost Plus Drugs pharmaceutical technicians working in the manufacturing plant in Deep Ellum

As CEO, Alex wholeheartedly agrees: “I’ve tried a lot of generative AI tools, and I think Gemini has the best integration out there. It feels intuitive and doesn’t get in the way, but it’s there when you need it. Personally, just the generative AI features in Gmail are saving me at least an hour a day.”

Alex is not alone. With Workspace and Gemini now in place, the company estimates that all of its employees are saving on average 5 hours per week just with the AI capabilities in Gmail. Meetings can now be more productive and inclusive, with real-time captions in multiple languages and automatic transcriptions. And the company is looking at putting Gemini to work on streamlining many of the time-consuming, manual processes that are the hallmarks of their industry, with innovations like AI-generated transcriptions and formatting pharmaceutical lab results or FDA compliance documentation. “We produce thousands of pages of documentation a week in our plant,” says Alex, “including very granular detail about our equipment and how it’s used. We’re envisioning how Gemini can automate documentation and compliance for us, which would be a huge win.”

Gemini can also help the company deepen employee knowledge and broaden skill sets. “Gemini is a great equalizer,” says Cuban, “because it can access your information, summarize it, and pick out things you should pay attention to. That’s a game changer for an entrepreneur or employee at any level.” And because Cost Plus Drugs doesn’t have a dedicated team of software developers, they’re exploring how they can build new business applications while extending technical capabilities to a broader range of roles with tools like Gemini Code Assist from Google Cloud. 

Meanwhile, security is at the foundation of everything the company does. “We take cybersecurity very seriously,” says Alex, “because ultimately we sell trust, not just pharmaceuticals. So we need to believe fundamentally in the engineering and battle-tested security posture of our productivity solution.” Cuban concurs: “The security we’re getting now with Google and Google Workspace versus where we were is just light years ahead. There’s a constant threat of cyberattacks for any business and that’s a never-ending battle that I’d rather have Google, as a leader in cybersecurity, fight for my employees.”

They chose Workspace, in part, for its zero-trust, cloud-native architecture, and for its use of cutting-edge AI defenses and threat signals from billions of endpoints to automatically protect users from the vast majority of harmful emails. That’s how Gmail is able to block more than 99.9% of all spam, phishing attempts, and malware from reaching their employee inboxes.

Looking ahead

With the impact Gemini for Google Workspace is making at Cost Plus Drugs, Cuban thinks the entrepreneurs at the companies he’s invested in, including through Shark Tank on ABC, would find tangible value in the solution. “You start a company and you are really good at making your product or doing your service. But you’re not so good at finance, and you’re not so good at marketing. Gemini is like having a whole team working for you.”

At Cost Plus Drugs, as Alex and Mark look ahead to scaling their business and delivering new levels of productivity and innovation with generative AI, they’re also committed to remaining a mission-driven organization. In the Dallas office, a wall of thank you letters from patients serves as a daily reminder for the team: “They’re saying things like, I thought I would have to sell my house to afford my medication. I was skipping meals to afford my medicine. I just thought I was going to die,” Alex says. “And those notes of gratitude keep us focused on why any of this matters in the first place.”

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