- A handful of the nation's largest health systems took the next step in their creation of a nonprofit aimed at manufacturing essential generic medications for hospitals.
- More than 120 organizations representing roughly a third of all U.S. hospitals have already signaled at least an interest — if not a full commitment — to working with the new company, Civica Rx, according to a Sept. 6 announcement.
- Civica Rx will first aim to supply 14 hospital-administered generic drugs through either internal production or external contract manufacturers. Martin VanTrieste, who recently served as chief quality officer at Amgen, will helm the new company.
Outrage over sky high drug prices has in many cases centered on branded drugmakers. Take AbbVie's Humira (adalimumab). It's the world's best-selling drug, and also one for which the price increased more than 50% from June 2015 to June 2018.
But the generics industry has its own share of foul play. Teva Pharmaceutical recently faced backlash for pricing a copycat version of Valeant Pharmaceuticals' Syprine (trientine hydrochloride) at more than $18,000 for 100 pills — not too far off from the reference product's 2015 list price of $21,000.
A 2016 report from the nonpartisan watchdog Government Accountability Office found that generic drug prices declined overall since 2010, yet at least one pricing increase of 100% or more occurred for 300-plus generics between early 2010 and early 2015.
Previously known as Project Rx, the initiative was announced in January by Intermountain Healthcare, Ascension, SSM Health and Trinity Health in consultation with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. New members added since then include Catholic Health Initiatives, HCA, Mayo Clinic and Providence St. Joseph Health.
The overarching goal is to make generics more "accessible and affordable," VanTrieste said. It's a strategy also favored by the Food and Drug Administration, which has been launching new guidance and initiatives aimed at speeding up the generic pathway to market.
"The fact that a third of the country’s hospitals have either expressed interest or committed to participate with Civica Rx shows a great need for this initiative," VanTrieste said in the Sept. 6 statement. "This will improve the situation for patients by bringing much needed competition to the generic drug market."
Civica Rx said other health systems that have agreed to work with the company will be revealed later this year. As for the 14 generics it intends to initially target, a Catholic Health spokesperson declined to signal the drugs in advance for "competitive reasons" in an emailed statement to BioPharma Dive.