Civica Rx, the not-for-profit company announced last January with the intent of shaking up the generic medication industry, has opened its headquarters in Lehi. Gov. Gary Herbert, U.S. Rep Ben McAdams, Intermountain Healthcare CEO Dr. Marc Harrison and other civic and medical community dignitaries recently joined Civica chairman Dan Liljenquist for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new facility on Executive Parkway in Lehi. Liljenquist is also senior vice president of strategy at Intermountain and Civica is considered his “brainchild.”
Liljenquist and Harrison, representing Intermountain Healthcare, were part of a group of healthcare organizations and hospitals that announced the formation of Civica RX in September. They said Civica would be a company that will produce generic drugs that currently are manufactured by only a few companies that, according to organizers, are manipulating supply in order to cause shortages and raise prices for hospitals and ultimately their patients. The costs of some generic drugs have risen more than 1,000 percent in just a few months “for seemingly no reason,” said Harrison at the time. “We believe this is wrong.”
The initial organizing members of Civica Rx will each contribute a member of the governing board and the bulk of the initial capitalization for the company. They include Common Spirit Health, HCA Healthcare, Intermountain Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, Providence St. Joseph Health, SSM Health, Trinity Health, Arnold Ventures, Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Gary and Mary West Foundation.
Other founding members of Civica are Advocate Aurora Health, Allegheny Health Network, Baptist Health South Florida, Franciscan Alliance, Memorial Hermann Health System, NYU Langone Health, Ochsner Health System, Sanford Health, Spectrum Health, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Steward Health Care and UnityPoint Health. University of Utah Health joins other organizations that Civica calls partnering members. They are Aspirus Health System, Baptist Health, Christiana Care Health System, Integris Health and Regional One Health.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will also work in consultation with Civica Rx to address its particular needs in regard to hospital-administered drugs.
At a news conference in September when the initial leadership of Civica was announced, Harrison said that “(Civica) will be based in Utah, and we believe that it will eventually result in hundreds of new jobs in our economy.”
Working with “reputable” manufacturing partners, Civica Rx will initially focus on producing 14 hospital-administered generic drugs, with the first being ready in 2019.
“We believe that generic drug prices can be reduced to a fraction of their current costs, saving patients — and this is really all about patients, folks — hundreds of millions of dollars a year,” Harrison said. “What you see here today is a free-market solution to a social ill that has been created by individuals who have perverted an industry. We aim to fix that.”
Liljenquist said Lehi was chosen for Civica’s headquarters because it is centrally located amid Utah’s major universities and has become a hub for Utah’s start-up and tech community, which will enable Civica Rx to draw on local expertise and talent. The Lehi office will house approximately 40 people immediately and expansion opportunities in Lehi are expected to bring the office to four or five times that size within three to five years.
“Together we celebrate the reason why Civica Rx exists, in purpose and in brick and mortar, and that is to do what is in the best interest of patients by stabilizing the supply of generic medications,” said Martin Van-Trieste, Civica Rx CEO. “Drug shortages strain hospital staff, lead to delayed surgeries and sub-optimal treatments for patients, and can lead to unpredictable price increases that result in budgetary instability in hospitals.”
Speakers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony highlighted the challenges associated with generic drug shortages in the nation’s hospitals, shared enthusiasm about the promise of Civica Rx as an innovative, collaborative approach to stabilizing generic drug supply and expressed pride in welcoming Civica Rx to Utah.