Baptist Health awaits first generic antibiotic delivery
Frustrated by shortages of generic drugs and the looming crisis of having to substitute costlier name-brand medications, Baptist Health South Florida (BHSF) joined 11 other founding members to establish Civica in 2018. Now that move is paying off; the system is expecting its first delivery of a generic antibiotic this month or next.
“Big Pharma has been buying out the little guys so they can come in later and make more money,” explained Madeline Camejo, BHSF vice president and chief pharmacy officer. “The bottom line is that drugs are one of the biggest costs in health care. It’s a big crisis that’s putting patients at risk. We have to change treatment plans depending on which medications we are short of, and which we have on hand.”
Civica partners – all philanthropic groups and hospital systems – at first will contract with small pharmaceutical companies to manufacture the drugs that hospitals need most, which is determined by a committee, she said. Going forward, the group will try to buy the patents on the targeted medications and eventually will run its own manufacturing plants.
“Civica aims to stabilize the supply of essential antibiotics, anesthetics, cardiac medications, pain management medications, and other essential sterile injectable medicines used in hospitals daily,” said Debbi Ford, chief communications and public affairs officer for Civica, via email. “Thanks to Baptist Health South Florida and all of our member health systems who help us prioritize the medications we make, we now have 18 essential medications in production and/or shipped. These are medications that are in short supply or at risk of being in short supply.”
Being part of the selection committee “gives us a seat at the table,” Ms. Camejo said. “There will be a huge cost saving because this is the first not-for-profit pharmaceutical manufacturer. No one owns Civica. It was put together for the sole purpose of stabilizing the supply chain and providing steady access to more than 200 desperately needed drugs. There will be a cost benefit, but the biggest benefit will be to patient safety.”
“We are very pleased with our collective progress,” Ms. Ford said. “To date, more than 45 health systems, representing more than 1,200 hospitals and more than 213,000 licensed hospital beds (more than 30% of US licensed hospital beds) in 46 states, are part of Civica. We expect that number of health systems to reach the 50-member mark soon.
“We are thrilled to have Baptist Health South Florida as a founding member and grateful for their partnership. Together, we are working toward one of the most promising healthcare opportunities of our times – reducing the chronic drug shortages that have put patient care at risk for well over a decade.”