New generics company emerges from unlikely source

There will soon be a new generics manufacturer to contend with — one that comes with a built-in base of 450 hospitals. Four major health systems — Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare, alongside Ascension, SSM Health and Trinity Health — are coming together to create a nonprofit generic drug company in consultation with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The health systems expect the effort to be an FDA-approved manufacturer that will either directly manufacture or sub-contract the manufacture of generics in an effort to create affordable medications. Intermountain Healthcare president and CEO Marc Harrison said that the effort would bring necessary competition to the generics market.

The as-yet-unnamed company’s formation will be guided by an advisory committee composed of pharmaceutical industry and regulatory veterans, including former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Don Berwick and Madhu Balachandran, formerly Amgen’s executive vice president of global operations, among others.

“This initiative has the potential to greatly expand the availability and affordability of critically needed medications for millions of Americans, especially for people living in poverty and those most vulnerable,” said Anthony Tersigni, president and CEO of St. Louis-based Ascension.

“Rather than waiting and hoping for generic drug companies to address this need, we are taking this bold step on behalf of those we are privileged to serve. I’m pleased to see our respective systems come together, along with the VA, to ensure affordability and access to these essential medications.”

The Veterans Health Administration’s executive in charge, Caroline Clancy, praised the effort, noting, “Increasing generic drug manufacturing capacity will generate a more stable generic drug supply and will reduce the negative clinical impact of chronic drug shortages, including the impact on our nation’s veterans.”

January 25, 2018

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