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Trinity Health and Partners Take Next Step Establishing Civica Rx

Sep 17, 2018 11:09AM ● By Alyssa McGinnis

Trinity Health and the consortium which revealed its plan to create a not-for-profit generic drug company in early 2018 today announced that the group has taken the next steps and established Civica Rx, a company created to correct a number of problems with consumer access to the nation's generic medicine supply. Civica Rx will be led by CEO Martin VanTrieste, former chief quality officer for Amgen, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, and he will serve in the roll without compensation.

Civica Rx was formed to help patients by addressing shortages and high prices of life-saving generic medications. It will focus, initially, on 14 generic drugs used in hospitals, many of which face chronic shortages, putting patients at risk. The company is organized as a Delaware nonstock, not-for-profit corporation, and will be headquartered in Utah.

“The generic drug marketplace is broken and, in response, we have created a unique and innovative fix — a public utility that is governed, exclusively, for the good of the people it serves," said Richard J. Gilfillan, M.D., CEO of Trinity Health. "Civica Rx will not earn profits for its investors, but will, instead, ensure that patients receive the greatest benefit — access to the drugs they need at affordable price points."

Since the initiative was announced in January 2018, more than 120 health organizations representing about a third of the nation’s hospitals have expressed a commitment or interest in participating with the new company.

"Civica Rx represents a clear and viable path to solving a major problem," said Lou Fierens, executive vice president, administrative services and overseeing the system's supply chain initiatives. "Remember, we are talking about generic medications here — medications that should be widely and affordably available. Civica Rx will bring efficiency and transparency to a very inefficient and opaque marketplace. This will benefit society."

Initial governing members of Civica Rx include Catholic Health Initiatives, HCA Healthcare, Intermountain Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, Providence St. Joseph Health, SSM Health, and Trinity Health. These seven organizations, representing about 500 U.S. hospitals, will each provide leadership for the Civica Rx Board of Directors and will provide much of the initial capital for the company. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will also work in consultation with Civica Rx to address its particular needs. New health systems participating with Civica Rx will be announced later this year.

Three major philanthropies will also join Civica Rx as governing members: the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Peterson Center on Healthcare, and the Gary and Mary West Foundation.

The engagement of philanthropic members is intended to further support and safeguard the company’s not-for-profit, social welfare mission.

Civica Rx will be an FDA-approved manufacturer and will either directly manufacture generic drugs or sub-contract manufacturing to reputable contract manufacturing organizations.

"Through Civica Rx, we are working on creating a stable, sustainable drug supply and on lowering costs," said Bob Ripley, vice president and chief pharmacy officer, Trinity Health. "It's a simple, but aggressive move that demonstrates our optimism in our capabilities and our commitment to patients."

The initiative fits well with both Trinity Health's mission to serve as a compassionate and transforming healing presence in its communities and with the mission of Catholic health care.

“Every person has a right to accessible and affordable health care, and that includes access to affordable drugs,” said Carol Keehan, DC, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Catholic Health Association. "The mission of Civica Rx is entirely consistent with the mission of Catholic health care, and we are proud that Catholic health systems are joining this effort to decrease the cost of drugs for the people and communities we serve."

Beyond supplying hospitals, the initiative will also result in lower costs and more predictable supplies of essential generic medicines, helping ensure that patients and their needs come first in the generic drug marketplace. Rx expects to have its first products on the market as early as 2019, and in the near future, also expects to provide generic medications to the retail market, offering an affordable alternative to products from incumbent generic drug companies.

Research into the actual costs of manufacturing and distributing generic drugs suggests that, in many instances, prices for generic drugs used in hospitals can be reduced to a fraction of their current costs. This can save patients, and the health systems that care for them, hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Civica Rx is collaborating with the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) newly formed AHA Center for Health Innovation to respond to inquiries about the initiative. Call 800-242-4677 with questions.