Several leading hospital groups have launched a nonprofit drug company aimed at offering patients better access to low-cost medications.
Governing members of the company, called Civica Rx, will include seven hospital groups representing about 500 U.S. hospitals, according to a statement.
The seven groups are Catholic Health Initiatives, HCA Healthcare, Intermountain Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, Providence St. Joseph Health, SSM Health and Trinity Health. The company said more than 120 health groups representing a third of U.S. hospitals have expressed interest or committed to participating in the endeavor.
The company's goal is to combat drug shortages and higher drug prices by making generic medications that are more accessible and affordable. Civica plans to start with 14 hospital-administered generic drugs but did not specify which medications.
"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," Martin VanTrieste, CEO of Civica Rx and a former chief quality officer at pharmaceutical company Amgen, said in a statement. "This will improve the situation for patients by bringing much needed competition to the generic drug market."
Civica Rx expects its first products to arrive as soon as next year.
In July, the Food and Drug Administration created a task force aimed at curbing drug shortages. The agency said shortages have steadily declined since a peak in 2011.
"While we’ve made progress to mitigate individual shortages, we haven’t firmly impacted the underlying structural concerns that give rise to these recurring challenges," FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.
Last year, top law enforcement officials in 45 states accused 18 pharmaceutical companies of conspiring to fix prices on certain medications to avoid competing with each other and boost their profits. EpiPen maker Mylan, one of the companies accused, said it "found no evidence of price-fixing on the part of Mylan or its employees."
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