Nonprofit Generic Drug Venture Civica Rx to Start With Two Antibiotics

Ellie Kincaid

May 16, 2019

Vancomycin and daptomycin are the first drugs that not-for-profit generic drug company Civica Rx will produce for its multiple health system members, the company announced Wednesday.

Civica has reached an agreement with Copenhagen, Denmark-based Xellia Pharmaceuticals to manufacture the two intravenous antibiotics for its member health systems for 5 years, with the aim of avoiding drug shortages.

"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," Civica CEO Martin VanTrieste said in a news release.

Last year the American Medical Association published a report calling drug shortages an "urgent public health crisis." Both vancomycin and daptomycin are on the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists' list of current drug shortages.

Eliminate the Uncertainty

A committee of about 30 people from Civica's members, which include the Mayo Clinic, NYU Langone Health, and HCA Healthcare, ranked vancomycin the number one priority out of the potential generic drugs for the company to bring to market, VanTrieste told Medscape Medical News.

The committee ranked daptomycin a medium priority but decided to bring it to market with vancomycin because Xellia manufactures both of the drugs.

Under the agreement, Xellia will manufacture vancomycin and daptomycin with Civica's labeling and can count on the health systems to buy a guaranteed volume of the drugs at set prices for 5 years. "We've eliminated the uncertainty from the manufacturing system," VanTrieste said, which "makes a more robust supply chain."

Drug shortages result from a breakdown in the complex international supply chains for generic drugs, in which no entity keeps an inventory, he added.

Besides deals with companies like Xellia, Civica plans to work with other pharmaceutical manufacturers to produce drugs, as well as acquiring and building facilities to make drugs itself.

In its release, Civica said it "aims to stabilize the supply of antibiotics, anesthetics, cardiac medications, pain management medications, and other essential sterile injectable medicines used in hospitals daily." The company has said it expects to provide about 20 products to alleviate shortages of medicines this year.

Civica will begin delivering its new products to health systems in the third quarter of the year. About 900 hospitals in 46 states were part of Civica Rx as of April 2019, accounting for 27% of US hospital beds.

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