(NPR) Alison Kodjak, September 6, 2018Â âÂ Sometimes IV bags are hard for hospitals to come by. Other times it’s injectable folic acid to treat anemias. Right now, the tissue-numbing agent lidocaine is in short supply.
have plagued hospitals in recent years. And with short supplies and fewer suppliers for key drugs, there have been price increases.
Hospital purchasing agents keep searching for new sources for the medications that patients need, while clinicians scramble to find alternatives.
“Every day at Intermountain we manage more than 100 drug shortages, and most of them are generics,” said Dr. Marc Harrison, president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, a system of 22 hospitals based in Salt Lake City. “The impact on patient care, in terms of trying to find alternatives and scurrying around and trying to find necessary drugs, is incredibly time-consuming and disconcerting.”
Now Intermountain, along with several other major hospital systems and philanthropies, is taking the problem in hand. They are launching a nonprofit, generic drug company to help fight rising costs and chronic shortages.
The company, called Civica Rx, will be independent. But the board will include so-called governing members that include Intermountain, the Mayo Clinic, and for-profit HCA Healthcare, among others. The companies are unveiling the new venture’s name, structure and leadership on Thursday. The intention to start it was announced in January.