Driving Down Drug Prices

UnityPoint Health is among 12 health systems representing approximately 250 hospitals across the United States that have joined Civica Rx as founding members. The nonprofit generic drug company was established in 2018 by three philanthropies and seven leading health systems that have experienced the impact of drug shortages, which affect all aspects of the healthcare delivery system. 

Quick RX Facts

  • About one in four people taking Rx drugs have a difficult time affording their medicine.
  • While out-of-pocket costs for Rx drugs are expected to increase in the coming years, it will likely represent a smaller portion of overall Rx spending.
  • Recent drug spending growth has largely been due to new brands and price increases for existing drugs still under patent protection. Compared to previous years, the price of generics had a downward effect on overall drug spending.
  • Costly new specialty drugs were a major driver of a recent spike in health spending. Specialty drugs are used for the treatment of complex, chronic or rare conditions such as cancers and hepatitis C.
  • Since 2008, generic drug prices have declined while branded drug prices have nearly doubled.

The collaborative initiative is expected to drive lower costs and more predictable supplies of many medicines, helping ensure patients and their needs come first in the generic drug marketplace. Civica Rx members will drive drug selection decisions to ensure the medications most essential to patient care are manufactured.

“UnityPoint Health is proud to partner with Civica Rx and other mission-driven healthcare organizations committed to ensuring high-quality, affordable medications are available when patients need them,” states Kent Lehr, vice president of strategy and business development at UnityPoint Health. “Drug shortages and the resulting price increases are becoming increasingly challenging… We believe our membership with Civica is another way we can improve the quality, safety and cost of care for the people and communities we serve.”

“Drug shortages have become a national crisis where patient treatments and surgeries are canceled, delayed or suboptimal,” says Martin VanTrieste, CEO of Civica Rx. “We thank these organizations for joining us to make essential generic medicines accessible and affordable in hospitals across the country.”

Civica Rx expects to bring more than 14 hospital-administered generic drugs to hospitals and healthcare systems in 2019 as the initial focus of the company’s efforts, with many additional medications prioritized by the healthcare systems as the next phase of focus. The company is working toward becoming an FDA-approved manufacturer and will either directly manufacture generic drugs or sub-contract manufacturing to trusted supply partners.

Source: Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker, “What are the recent and forecasted trends in prescription drug spending?” by Rabah Kamal, Cynthia Cox and Daniel McDermott, Kaiser Family Foundation, healthsystemtracker.org

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