Intermountain among hospitals launching generic drug company to combat rising costs

SALT LAKE CITY -- Intermountain Healthcare announced the official launch of a non-profit, generic drug company called Civica Rx.

Intermountain Health is joining six other hospital systems and three philanthropic groups to form the company. The company's mission is to prevent drug shortages and cut costs.

Martin VanTrieste, an industry insider, was named as the company’s CEO. He has agreed to serve with no compensation.

“No patient, no family should have to be concerned that their child can`t get the cancer drug that they need to live,” VanTrieste said.

The Utah based company said it will market 14 generic drugs administered in hospitals. It won’t name them yet, but said they will be on the market by mid-2019.

It’s estimated the generic drugs could sell for 20-30 percent below current prices.

“This is a model that is open to all. Everybody will receive the same price. Everybody will receive equal access to these drugs,” Dan Liljenquist, Sr. VP and Chief Strategy Officer for Intermountain Healthcare, said.

It’s been an ongoing problem for hospitals across the country, the shortage of common antibiotics. Or IV bags, in the aftermath of last year’s Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. When there's a shortage, hospitals scramble to find other options. With short supplies, prices skyrocket.

“We've been managing, the last several years, almost 200 essential drugs that have been in and out of shortage,” Liljenquist said.

Liljenquist said the nonprofit company is pushing back against a market that has become concentrated with monopolies. It's fulfilling a need and will also be transparent with prices.

" (It is) literally owned by society at large., Liljenquist said. "Nobody will own this business. Not a penny of profit will be paid out of this business ever to any member."

Initially, Civica Rx will work with existing manufacturers. Down the road, the company is looking at buying its own manufacturing facilities.

Click here for the full press release.