Martin VanTrieste, former chief quality officer for drugmaker Amgen, was named the health system-led generic-drug company's CEO, the organizations announced Thursday.
VanTrieste, who has more than 35 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, is tasked with leading a company that seeks to stabilize the supply of generic medications like sterile injectibles that hospitals rely on and ultimately lowering their cost.
The Utah-based not-for-profit generic-drug company, Civica Rx, will include executives from Catholic Health Initiatives, HCA Healthcare, Intermountain Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, Providence St. Joseph Health, SSM Health and Trinity Health, which collectively represent about 500 hospitals. They will provide much of the initial funding for the company, executives said. More than 120 healthcare organizations have pledged their support.
Civica Rx's creation was spearheaded by Intermountain, Ascension, SSM and Trinity, reflecting their growing frustration with healthcare's status quo. The company, which will be an Food and Drug Administration-approved drugmaker that either directly manufactures generic drugs or sub-contracts manufacturing, also plans to work with the Veterans Affairs Department.
It will initially focus on an unspecified group of 14 hospital-administered generics, some of which will hit the market in 2019. Also, the consortium expects to sell consumers generic drugs that it produces cheaper than incumbent generic-drug makers, the group said.
"We are creating a public asset with a mission to ensure that essential generic medications are accessible and affordable," VanTrieste, who will not take a salary, said in statement. "The fact that a third of the country's hospitals have either expressed interest or committed to participate with Civica Rx shows a great need for this initiative. This will improve the situation for patients by bringing much needed competition to the generic-drug market."
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Peterson Center on Healthcare, and the Gary and Mary West Foundation will help guide the coalition's not-for-profit mission.
"The generic-drug marketplace is broken and, in response, we have created a unique and innovative fix—a public utility that is governed, exclusively, for the good of the people it serves," Dr. Richard Gilfillan, CEO of Trinity Health, said in a statement. "Civica Rx will not earn profits for its investors, but will, instead, ensure that patients receive the greatest benefit—access to the drugs they need at affordable price points."
The effort to stabilize a fragile pharmaceutical supply chain, produce cheaper generic drugs and counter pharmaceutical companies that significantly raise the prices of widely used medications has largely been well received.