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A Utah Hospital System Is Trying To Drive Down Prices By Making Their Own Drugs

Erik Neumann / KUER
Intermountain Healthcare CEO Marc Harrison, Civica Rx CEO Martin VanTrieste and Intermountain Chief Strategy Officer Dan Liljenquist introduced the drug manufacturing company Civica Rx.

Utah-based hospital system Intermountain Healthcare released new details today about its plan to start manufacturing its own generic drugs. Representatives said it’s a new approach to driving down drug prices.

The name of the new drug company is Civica Rx. Intermountain Healthcare officials said they plan to start manufacturing 14 drugs that are commonly used in hospitals and that they argue are unnecessarily expensive.

Dan Liljenquist is the Chief Strategy Officer at Intermountain Healthcare. He said right now pharmaceutical companies have to make a profit for their shareholders. But Civica Rx will produce these drugs as a not-for-profit business.

“These products have been on the market for decades. The ones we’re talking about were developed in the 40s, 50s and 60s. They are not hard to manufacture,” Liljenquist said.

Liljenquist and other officials would not say which drugs they’ll be making. They said that could give other pharmaceutical companies a chance to react by lowering prices or otherwise disrupt their business before it’s up and running in 2019.

500 hospitals across the country have signed up for the program which will operate like a subscription model. The company says these guaranteed customers and a predictable drug supply will prevent artificially high prices.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

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