Civica Rx, Blue Cross Blue Shield tackle high-cost generic medications with new subsidiary

Civica Rx and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 18 of its health plans have teamed up to create a new subsidiary that will target low-cost generic drugs.

Civica Rx is a drug company startup created by several health foundations and hospitals systems in 2018 to address drug shortages and rising drug prices. With more than $160 million in funding from its members, Civica Rx has partnered with several healthcare players to distribute lower-cost drugs that are in need at its partner hospitals and health systems.

The creation of a new subsidiary with Blue Cross Blue Shield is a new strategy for Civica. The partnership expands on Civica’s mission to bring down drug prices and reduce shortages in the hospital setting.

“Civica’s mission is to make quality medicines available and affordable to everyone,” Martin VanTrieste, Civica president and CEO, said in a statement. “Serving patients is our privilege and our responsibility—one that we are proud to share with BCBS companies who are committed to tackling one of the most important healthcare challenges of our time. Numerous studies confirm that medication costs can dictate whether individuals fill or ration their generic prescriptions. Together with BCBS companies, we are taking action to put patients first.”

The new subsidiary will acquire and develop Abbreviated New Drug Applications for some generics and partner with Civica and manufacturers to bring these drugs to “uncompetitive” markets. The generics chosen will be identified as those with high savings potential.

Civica Rx also recently announced a partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific to develop and manufacture nine critical mediations needed in hospitals, with Civica owning the ANDAs. Previous partnerships have outsourced the manufacturing for Civica, with the company acting more as a distributor or facilitator to its member partners. The latest partnership with BCBSA also shows Civica is continuing its original mission to become a drug manufacturer to bring down prices.

“We believe everyone should have access to health care, no matter who they are or where they live,” Scott P. Serota, president and CEO of BCBSA, said in a statement. “Through this partnership, we will push toward the vital objective of providing greater access to much-needed medications. As BCBS companies and Civica embark on this important work, we hope others will join us to achieve the change Americans want to see in the health care system.”

The companies expect the first generic medications to be available in early 2022. In addition, other healthcare partners are welcome to get involved.

“Civica is already bringing value—in quality, supply and price—to the in-patient hospital market and with BCBS will expand that mission to reach individuals and families buying generic prescriptions in hospitals and pharmacies,” Dan Liljenquist, Civica board chairman, said in the announcement. “Combining Civica’s mission with the commitment BCBS companies show to their members places us in a position to make a significant impact on lowering drug costs.”