A NEW KIND OF DRUG COMPANY. All across the United States, medical professionals find themselves in a tight spot. See, critical medications are in short supply, leaving hospitals scrambling to pay exorbitant prices for drugs that they have to painstakingly track down, or identify (possibly inferior) alternatives.
Now, a group of major American hospitals is fighting back against the pharmaceutical manufacturers causing many of these issues. They've banded together to form Civica Rx, a nonprofit organization that will manufacture its own supply of 14 as-yet-unnamed generic drugs.
BETTER FOR HOSPITALS. Civica Rx's governing members have already pledged $100 million to launch the company. In total, it represents about 500 hospitals, which will each agree to purchase a certain amount of their medications from Civica Rx.
Because Civica Rx is a nonprofit (and so not beholden to shareholders), it can sell these medications without worrying about making the most money possible.
“We’re trying to do the right thing — create a first-of-its-kind societal asset with one mission: to make sure essential generic medicines are affordable and available to everyone,” Dan Liljenquist, chair of Civica RX, told The Washington Post.
BETTER FOR PATIENTS. According to Marc Harrison, president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, one of the companies involved in Civica Rx, the project has the potential to dramatically improve the care patients receive at U.S. hospitals.
"Every day at Intermountain, we manage more than 100 drug shortages, and most of them are generics," he told NPR. "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."
It's not clear yet whether this will actually make things cheaper for patients, especially those without insurance. But with more drugs on hand, hospitals will certainly have it easier.
The first Civica Rx medication could be ready to hit the market as soon as 2019.
READ MORE: Hospitals Are Fed up With Drug Companies, so They’re Starting Their Own [The Washington Post]
More on drug pricing: This Drug Puts a $750,000 “Price Tag on Life”