- Novartis' Sandoz unit has agreed to supply six generic injectable medicines in a five-year deal with Civica Rx, an organization formed by hospital systems to combat drug shortages.
- The company's statement didn't name the medications, but said they are widely used at Civica's roughly 1,200 U.S. member hospitals and include antibiotics, acid reducers, blood thinners, blood pressure treatments and drugs needed in the operating room.
- For Sandoz, the pact offers a contract with pre-committed orders, allowing the company to better plan for reliably supplying Civica. The generic drugmaker expects to begin shipping medicines to Civica this year.
Civica aims to address recurring shortages of needed generic drugs but, at least for now, it needs the help of companies like Sandoz to help it fix the problem.
Over the last decade, at least 140 new drug shortages have been recorded each year, including a whopping 267 in 2011, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
Injectable drugs are a big part of the problem. In a 2019 report, the Food and Drug Administration studied 163 drugs that went into shortage between 2013 and 2017 and found 63% were injectables. ASHP statistics show the percentages varying from 39% to 73% since 2001.
Sandoz, meanwhile, cited a 2018 survey published in JAMA Internal Medicine that found almost 70% of hospital pharmacy managers had been unable to provide needed medicines at least 50 times the year before.
Since forming in 2018, Civica has been ramping up its work. The nonprofit now counts more than 50 health systems as members, accounting for almost a third of all licensed U.S. hospital beds.
In addition to contracting with companies to supply medicines, Civica has taken steps to develop its own in-house products. As part of a seven-year partnership announced in January, Thermo Fisher agreed to produce medications under Abbreviated New Drug Applications owned by Civica.
Civica this year also secured a $55 million investment from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, along with 18 affiliate BCBS companies, to create a subsidiary that will buy and develop ANDAs.
The generic company's strategy eventually calls for buying or building its own manufacturing facilities.