Antibiotics,” Michael Mortensen

May 16, 2019; FiercePharma

FiercePharma reports that Civica Rx, the hospital collaboration aimed at increasing access to—and decreasing the costs of—commonly used drugs, has decided on the first two medications it make and with whom it will contract to produce them.

Danish company Xellia Pharmaceuticals has been selected to produce vancomycin and daptomycin, two commonly used injectable antibiotics. Overall, it has agreements in place to manufacture 14 generic drugs this year.

“By helping to stabilize the supply of vancomycin and daptomycin, we will have a direct impact on patient safety and public health by providing consistent access to antibiotics that are important treatment options in the management of difficult-to-treat and life-threatening infections,” said Martin Van Trieste, president and CEO of Civica, in a release.

Van Trieste says the launch drugs were chosen by a committee which prioritized drugs that had shortages, were used frequently in hospitals, and had a major impact on the patient. Vancomycin is used for serious infections that are resistant to other drugs. Sometimes, the need for it is critical, but doctors have been forced to use lesser alternatives because it was unavailable. (How often? One recent survey of doctors found nine out of 10 had dealt with a drug shortage in the previous month.) This made it a high priority.

In terms of price, Van Trieste says the goal is to make drugs cheaper by buying in bulk on behalf of all 800 member hospitals, who are free to opt in or on any particular drug. This allows them to price it only somewhat higher than its cost to manufacture.

This project has moved along very quickly from conception to collaboration building to actual launch. It’s remarkable what a common interest and a little capital can do.—Ruth McCambridge