The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in Chicago and 18 independent and locally operated Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, have announced a partnership with Utah’s Civica Rx to create a new subsidiary dedicated to lowering the cost of select generic drugs.
The subsidiary is being formed in response to the impact of high drug costs and the overall affordability of health care. Other health plans, employers, retail partners, and innovators in the health care industry are invited to join the initiative.
“We believe everyone should have access to health care, no matter who they are or where they live,” says Scott P. Serota, president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “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.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield has been in business for more than 90 years.
Civica is a nonprofit that was formed in 2018 by health care organizations and three philanthropies. It works to combat drug shortages and price spikes in hospitals. The partnership expands on Civica’s mission by focusing on the affordability of generic medications outside of the hospital setting.
“Civica’s mission is to make quality medicines available and affordable to everyone,” says Martin VanTrieste, president and CEO of Civica. “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 health care 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.”
In the partnership, Blue Cross Blue Shield companies and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association are committing the capital to bring select high-cost generic drugs to market for consumers. The subsidiary will acquire and develop abbreviated new drug applications for these drugs and work with Civica and manufacturing partners to bring more affordable generic drugs to uncompetitive markets in exchange for aggregated volume and multiyear purchasing commitments.
Initially, several generic medications identified as having high potential for savings will be prioritized by the partnership and will evolved into a platform that can be used to enhance competition for additional generic drugs.
The companies expect that the first generic medications will become available by early 2022.
“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,” says Dan Liljenquist, board chair of Civica. “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.”
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 Blue Cross Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans.
Civica represents more than 1,200 U.S. hospitals in 46 states.