St. Luke's University Health Network in Bethlehem has become one of 12 health systems to join as founding members of a new not-for-profit generic drug company, as has the parent company of Easton Hospital, Stewart Health Care.
Civica Rx, which was founded in 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah, is working towards becoming an FDA approved drug manufacturer that will either manufacture its own generic drugs or sub-contract for drug manufacturing with supply partners.
According to NPR, drug shortages have become such a problem in the nation that Food and Drug Administration created a task force last year to come up with solutions.
In addition to lowering costs, being part of Civic Rx is expected to address pharmaceutical shortages.
“Drug shortages have become a national crisis where patient treatments and surgeries are canceled, delayed or suboptimal. We thank these organizations for joining us to make essential generic medicines accessible and affordable in hospitals across the country,” said Martin VanTrieste, CEO of Civica Rx, in a press release.
Civica Rx said it expects to bring over 14 hospital-administered generic drugs to hospitals and health care systems in 2019 with other medications added in the future.
Member health systems would need to commit to using the Civica Rx-made medications, even if another drug manufacturer lowers its prices below what Civica Rx is charging.
“On behalf of our patient base, St. Luke’s is helping to launch the Civica Rx initiative to proactively address pharmaceutical shortages and escalating pharmaceutical prices,” St. Luke’s chief operating officer Joel Fagerstrom said in a statement. “This will give hospitals and patients reliable access to affordable life-saving medications.”
Civica Rx was founded by three philanthropic organizations and seven health care systems.
The besides St. Luke's and Stewart, new founding members announced today are:
· Advocate Aurora Health
· Allegheny Health Network
· Baptist Health South Florida
· Franciscan Alliance
· Memorial Hermann Health System
· NYU Langone Health
· Ochsner Health System
· Sanford Health
· Spectrum Health
· UnityPoint Health
(Updated to clarify Stewart Health Care as the parent company of Easton Hospital.)