On Thursday, several hospital groups banded together to create a generic drug company, combatting material shortages and price gouging. The company, Civica Rx, has planned to begin the program by supplying 14 drugs commonly used in the hospital setting that are in short supply, but has not released the names of the drugs to limit competition. Dan Lijenquist, Civica Rx board member, did state that the treatments will include generic pills, injections for infections, pain, heart conditions, and patches.
“Every day at Intermountain we manage more than 100 drug shortages, and most of them are generics,” said Intermountain Healthcare CEO Dr. Marc Harrison. The Intermountain system includes 22 hospitals in Salt Lake City. “The impact on patient care, in terms of trying to find alternatives and scurrying around and trying to find necessary drugs, is incredibly time-consuming and disconcerting.” Alongside several other major hospital systems, Intermountain has created the nonprofit drug company Civica Rx to combat these shortages.
Civica Rx will be run as an independent company, with board members including Intermountain, for-profit HCA Healthcare, the Mayo Clinic, and others. The company plans to begin operations in January. The widespread shortage of drugs in America has become so severe that in July, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb created a branch designated to solving this issue. As for the cost issue, the Justice Department and 45 states brought up accusations to several drug makers for price fixing.
“As we decided on the drugs we were really practical,” said Harrison. “We looked for drugs that were now in short supply. We looked for drugs that were on the lists of essential medications, and we looked for drugs that have had huge spikes in their prices.”
Civica Rx plans to begin its applications to the FDA early next year to create and distribute generic drugs, as per Harrison. The company’s first move will likely be to create contracts with existing manufacturers to synthesize drugs under the Civica label, and potentially purchase manufacturing buildings of their own.
The generic drug company is in part the creation of Intermountain senior VP and chief strategy officer Dan Lijenquist, who claims that production of certain generics has become monopolized to few companies. These companies have already covered costs of manufacturing and development, allotting them the power to keep all competition out of the market.
“The folks who are gouging people and creating shortages, they know who they are, and they’re the ones who should be very concerned,” said Harrison.
The number of committed participants demonstrates the need for Civica Rx to act now “This will improve the situation for patients by bringing much needed competition to the generic drug market.” Martin VanTrieste, CEO of Civica Rx. @usatoday #CivicaRx https://t.co/ZShoTztDOn pic.twitter.com/j8uFTlIsli
— Civica Rx (@CivicaRx) September 7, 2018