Combatting stock shortages and controlling drug prices

The Civica Rx¹ association was created in 2018 by three philanthropic foundations² and seven organizations³ which alone represent 1,200 healthcare establishments in 46 of the 50 American states. It has a single objective in the crosshairs: to combat the recurrent problem of stock shortages in the United States. A real national crisis for hospitals and patients, the shortages affect a wide range of therapies: anti-cancer drugs, antibiotics, anesthetics and analgesics. As a non-profit association, the economic model of Civica Rx is unique: its members do not possess shares in the association, there are therefore no shareholders. In addition the legal articles of the Association are drafted so as to prevent any sale or modification of its main mission. Civica Rx was rapidly approved by the FDA as a drug manufacturer. Several months later, the first hospitals received the first batches of vancomycin, an antibiotic that is essential but in insufficient supply. Civica Rx, which always ensures that essential generic drugs are always available at an affordable price, today offers 20 generic drugs in injectable pharmaceutical form.

In early 2020, it was the turn of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) to point a finger at stock shortages and the staggering rise in the cost of medical products. According to the California Medical Association, expenses associated with treatments had reached $328.6 billion, and the price of some essential drugs were posting increases of between 10 and 100% in just one year! “We think that everyone should have access to healthcare treatment, no matter where they are or where they live”, said Scott P. Serota, CEO of the BCBSA. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 18 of its affiliated companies therefore decided to come together to launch their own drug manufacturing operation concentrating on affordable generic drugs outside of the hospital setting. To succeed in their new mission, they will work in close collaboration with the Civica Rx association. “Through this partnership we will achieve the vital objective of providing better access to essential drugs” said Scott P. Serota. No less than $55 million will be invested, and the production of a dozen products for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, diabetes and some mental illnesses should be launched soon.  The association expects to place future drugs on the market from 2022 onwards.

¹ Flexmag #13
² Laura & John Arnold Foundation, The Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Gary and Mary West Foundation
³ Catholic Health Initiatives, HCA Healthcare, Intermountain Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, Providence St Joseph Health, SSM Health and Trinity Health.