Healthcare providers are taking on Big Pharma by making expensive drugs on their own.
People pay more for drugs in the United States than anywhere else in the world. According to Bloomberg, the average cost per year per person for drugs in the US is $1,100 annually. The next highest country, Canada, pays an average of $770 per year for drugs.
For those dealing with chronic conditions like cancer, the price of life-saving medication can be just as terminal as their diagnosis. What’s worse, some pharmaceutical companies are even creating artificial shortages of medications with little competition just so they can drive up the price. This puts people’s lives at risk just so some horrible CEOs can line their pockets on their misery.
Luckily, some healthcare providers have finally had enough. Over 120 health organizations have banded together to create Civica RX, a national nonprofit dedicated to producing generic drugs cheaply for healthcare providers. Almost 500 hospitals have signed on, representing one-third of all hospitals in the country.
The US Department of Veteran Affairs and several other philanthropy groups have also signed on to the program.
The idea here is simple: Civica RX will bypass Big Pharma and go straight to the manufacturer to negotiate a price and supply of medication. Think of it like a worker’s union, only for drugs. By banding together, healthcare providers can negotiate for a cheaper price much more easily than they can separately. They can also negotiate to ensure that drugs that are in short supply are manufactured in quantities that hospitals actually need for their patients.
Civica will first focus on 14 generic drugs that suffer from chronic shortages. Once they’ve stabilized that supply of crucial medications, they’ll turn their focus on to other generic drugs in order to drive the price down.
Don’t expect prices to fall overnight, however. It could take years before the average drug price in the US is down to near-Canada levels. And don’t expect Big Pharma to give up without a fight, either. Expect some dastardly moves so they can keep bilking sick people. But this could be the start of real change in American health care, and it’s all thanks to the power of unionizing.