Omaha World-Herald: Nonprofit that Aims to Lower Drug Prices is ‘Disruption’ the Industry Needs, CHI Health Exec Says

2 min
October 01, 2018

First hospitals had to hunt down or find work-arounds for certain types of IV fluids that were in short supply. More recently, some pain medications have been hard to get.

To address shortages and high prices for some older drugs, a group of seven large health systems and three philanthropic groups recently launched a new nonprofit generic drug company called Civica Rx.

Among the initial participants are two with local ties: Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives, the parent of CHI Health in Nebraska and Iowa, and the Gary and Mary West Foundation, whose founders started the Omaha-based telecommunications technology company West Corp.

Dr. Cliff Robertson, CHI Health’s chief executive, said the new nonprofit is the kind of “disruption” that needs to happen in the healthcare industry to help rein in the cost of drugs. A sustainable marketplace for such medications also will make it easier for health systems to deliver care.

He said he’s excited about the move because it stands to lower costs for insurers, employers and, ultimately, patients. He said it’s difficult for the health system to deliver care at lower costs if manufacturers of drugs and equipment keep raising prices.

Civica Rx, which will have its headquarters in Utah, expects to release its first products as early as 2019.

“If Civica Rx is successful in delivering on its promise, I suspect there will be very few hospitals and health systems that won’t want to participate in some way, shape and form,” Robertson said. “There’s really no reason not to.”