The Memorial Hermann Health System has teamed up with a new generic drug company created to fight "artificially high" drug prices and mitigate chronic drug shortages, the pharmaceutical company said on Monday.
Civica Rx, based in Utah, launched its generic drug initiative a year ago, with strong roots in Houston. The idea behind this venture is to enable hospital systems to "create their own priorities" for medicines.
Such generic versions of the drugs remain elusive due to price or availability, or both, said Heather Wall, commercial director of Civica Rx, during an interview Monday.
"We are tackling drugs for which we have seen a significant increase in prices in recent years," she said.
The price rises, often spectacular, can come from a lack of competition, especially among drugs that are out of mass production. But Wall said the fact that a drug is evasive does not mean it's not necessary.
Generally, there are about 200 medications on shortage lists each year.
When there is not enough of a drug in the supply chain, this can drive up the price to "artificially high" levels, forcing providers and ultimately the patients to pay more, Wall said.
Memorial Hermann is one of 12 health systems across the country to partner with Civica Rx. The Houston-based system will be seen as a founding member of what is expected to be a growing network of hospitals across the country, Wall said.
The company currently has 750 US hospitals.
"Creating a consistent and stable supply of generic drugs not only keeps us on track to deliver safe, high-quality, and responsive care for our patients, but also allows us to deal with dramatic increases in health at home. United States: Our sector is constantly experiencing drug shortages for common medications, forcing health care organizations to pay exorbitant prices to ensure proper supplies and adequate patient care – prices that end up being passed on to the consumer, "Chuck Stokes, CEO of Memorial Hermann Health System, said Monday in a statement.
Civica Rx will directly manufacture generic versions of targeted drugs or outsource the process, the company said. It is currently planned to manufacture 14 drugs administered at the hospital by the middle of the year, said Wall. The names of these drugs have not been disclosed.
The collaboration of nonprofit pharmaceutical companies with hospital systems is part of a larger trend of unusual health care linkages aimed at creating access beyond the usual boundaries. Take, for example, the plan announced last year that three industry giants, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, would form an independent health care company for their employees in the United States.
More recently, the CVS pharmacy chain has been authorized to buy Aetna, the third largest health insurance company in the country, under a $ 69 billion contract. which, according to many, could transform the way millions of people get basic medical care.
Civica Rx was created last January under the leadership of seven major hospital systems and three philanthropies to establish a framework and business model.
Philanthropic works include the Houston-based Laura and John Arnold Foundation, which donated $ 1 million in seed money and $ 9 million in loans, Wall said.
HCA Healthcare, which operates 15 hospitals in the Houston area, and Catholic Health Initiatives, which includes the St. Luke Health Network in the area, are also part of the governing body of origin.
Memorial Hermann will now join them.
In October, Memorial Hermann announced its intention to merge with the Baylor Scott & White Health Network to form Texas' largest non-profit health care system and one of the largest in the country. Wall said on Monday that it was not clear whether the Baylor Scott & White system would also be associated with Civica Rx.