Intermountain, SSM, Ascension and Trinity Health to launch generic drug company

Enlarge  Former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli. Jail for him competition for his kind. Getty | Drew Angerer

Enlarge Former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli. Jail for him competition for his kind. Getty | Drew Angerer

The news-and furor-follows years of headlines, scandals, and congressional hearings over certain drug companies dramatically raising the prices of generic drugs and creating frustrating shortages.

Federal shutdowns can affect the health-care industry because many insurers and hospitals have close relations with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid and other government agencies.

Two St. Louis-based health care systems are leading a push against surging drug prices.

"It's an ambitious plan", Intermountain president and CEO Marc Harrison, MD, said in statement.

The new company will provide an alternative to products now made by generic manufacturers "whose capricious and unfair pricing practices are damaging the generic drug market and hurting consumers", according to the joint statement released Thursday morning. This new initiative will bring together healthcare systems from around the country to help address these generic drug market failures, providing the new not-for-profit generic drug company with plenty of customers ready and eager for its products.

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Price hikes in the generic drug market strike critics as particularly arbitrary given that many of them have been around for decades.

Richard J. Gilfillan, MD, CEO of Trinity Health, said, "For people in the United States, there is a risky gap today between the demand and supply of affordable prescription drugs".

For four of the country's largest hospital systems, enough is enough.

"If the only way to provide our communities with affordable drugs is to produce them ourselves, then that is what we will do", Dr. Richard Gilfillan, CEO of Trinity Health, said in a statement.

In addition to senior level executives from Ascension, Intermountain, SSM and Trinity, the project has enlisted advisors including former CMS administrator Don Berwick, MD, who is now president emeritus of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Harvard professor and Innosight founder Clayton Christensen, former Nebraska governor, Bob Kerrey, who now serves as managing director of Allen & Company, retired Amgen chief quality officer Martin VanTrieste, and retired executive vice president of Global Madhu Balachandran.

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