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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Mayo Clinic joins coalition of hospitals to form nonprofit drug company

Mayo Clinic joins coalition of hospitals to form nonprofit drug company

Mayo Clinic is teaming up with a coalition of hospitals across the country to form a not-for-profit generic drug company that aims to fight the rising costs and chronic shortages associated with life-saving medications.

The company, named Civica Rx, will initially focus on stabilizing the supply of 14 hospital-administered generic drugs that are currently in high demand. Civica Rx could not state which drugs those are for competitive reasons, but said the first products are expected to be available as early as 2019.

"In recent years, these generic drugs have dramatically increased in cost," said Dr. John Noseworthy, president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. "There is also a remarkable shortage of these lifesaving therapies. It is critically important that patients have access to the treatments they need." 

In manufacturing its own drugs, Civica Rx said it will be able to provide lower costs and more predicable supplies of essential generics. The company also plans to offer its generic medications on the retail market, providing an affordable alternative to products coming out of the for-profit sector.

Mayo is one of seven health care partners leading Civica Rx. Together, the organizations — which represent more than 500 U.S. hospitals — have contributed $100 million toward the initiative.

“This endeavor demonstrates the need for collaboration to solve the most complex health care challenges of today," said Noseworthy. "I am pleased to see our collective commitment to improving the health and well-being of millions of patients come alive through this mission-driven initiative."

Three philanthropies have also joined Civica Rx as governing members. Their participation, according to an announcement Thursday, is intended to support and safeguard the company’s social welfare mission.

Martin VanTrieste, former chief quality officer for Amgen Inc., one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies, has been named the Civica Rx CEO. He will not collect a salary for his work with the organization.

Additional reading: Hospitals Prepare To Launch Their Own Drug Company To Fight High Prices And Shortages (via NPR News)

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