- Civica Rx, the nonprofit generics company formed by U.S. health systems to ease drug shortages, has signed with London-headquartered Hikma Pharmaceuticals to produce 14 sterile injectables that have been in short supply at hospitals.
- The partners did not state what drugs Hikma will produce for Civica beyond that they are "used daily by hospitals in emergency care, surgery, pain management and in treating hypertension." The list will be announced later, and shipping should begin by the end of 2019.
- The combination of price increases and shortages of essential generic drugs has been challenging for hospitals, with consulting firm Vizient estimating an additional 8.6 million personnel hours are spent managing shortages.
The deal with Hikma is an important step forward for the ambitions of Civica, which formed as a way to secure a supply of off-patent medicine at more predictable prices. Thirty health systems with 900 hospitals, representing 30% of the 931,000 licensed hospital beds in the United States, have signed on as members.
Civica will serve as a private label distributor, using Hikma's U.S. Food and Drug Administration Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) approvals but with Civica's national drug code.
Hikma is the second partner with which Civica has signed a deal. In May, the nonprofit partnered with Danish company Xellia Pharmaceuticals for a supply of anti-infectives vancomycin and daptomycin.
Partnerships like those with Hikma and Xellia are only a first step in Civica's strategy. It also hopes to win ANDA approvals and produce its own drugs through contract manufacturers, and then develop manufacturing capacity to produce generic drugs on its own.
In addition to making sure that hospitals have the best medicine for patients, alleviating shortages has a financial benefit for hospitals. An analysis by Vizient, which is now working with Civica on drug shortage issues, estimated that supply issues cost hospitals $359 million a year because of delayed or canceled procedures, staff time spent trying to find new sources, or technology updates necessitated by shortages.
Even if Civica is successful in controlling the prices of generic drugs, though, it might not always be apparent to patients or payers because many hospitals bundle drug costs together when they bill, a Civica executive said at a recent conference.