Two critical antibiotics will be the first products supplied by a group of hospitals that are trying to overcome high drug prices and short supplies by producing the medicines themselves.
Civica Rx, the nonprofit drugmaking venture established by the hospitals, plans to begin distributing vancomycin hydrochloride and daptomycin before the end of September, according to Civica's chief executive.
The antibiotics are an important staple of hospital efforts to deal with drug-resistant bugs. Hospitals use the antibiotics often to treat bacterial infections that other antibiotics can't. Vancomycin has been in and out of shortage since 2002, according to the University of Utah Drug Information Service, which tracks drug supplies. Daptomycin grew scarce in 2017.
Civica Rx and other nontraditional drug suppliers entering the market say they are seeking to fix a system that puts patients at risk and adds to fast-rising pharmaceutical spending.
Premier Inc., a company that negotiates purchases between hospitals and drug companies, said in February it reached an agreement with Baxter International Inc. to supply the first drug for its venture, ProvideGx.
A range of generic medicines have been in short supply in recent years due to natural disasters and manufacturing problems. In the first three months of the year, supplies were limited for 276 drugs, an increase of 37% from the same quarter a year before, according to the Drug Information Service. Many of the scarce drugs are sterile generic injectables used by hospitals, Ms. Fox said.
Civica's first drugs aren't considered in shortage by the Food and Drug Administration and are manufactured by multiple companies. But they are considered in short supply by the University of Utah. Martin VanTrieste, chief executive of Civica, said the additional manufacturing would create a robust supply in case of disruption among other producers.
Xellia Pharmaceuticals, based in Copenhagen, will manufacture Civica's supply of vancomycin hydrochloride and daptomycin. The company had planned an expansion of its U.S. manufacturing capability, with the goal of increasing its production of vancomycin hydrochloride and daptomycin and other drugs, said Carl-Aake Carlsson, Xellia's chief executive. Civica offered a long-term contract and a fair price, he said.
The drugs are the first of 14 Civica is expected to start producing this year.
BY MELANIE EVANS