Get your Dose of the latest in pharmacy news. We deliver monthly highlights straight to your inbox, so you can keep your finger on the industry's pulse. Click here to sign up now! From celebrating World Pharmacist Day to preparing for the 2018-19 flu season, this is what's happening for September.
Hospitals to Launch New Generic Drug Company
From IV bags to lidocaine, hospitals have been struggling with shortages of essential equipment and generic drugs. These commonplace supplies have also gotten more expensive in recent years due to the high demand.
To combat these shortages, several hospital systems have collaborated to launch an independent, nonprofit drug company Civica Rx. Major players in this development include the Mayo Clinic, Intermountain and HCA Healthcare.
Civica Rx aims to get approval from the FDA as early as 2019 to begin manufacturing its generics. The company has yet to reveal which drugs it will sell but plans to include 14 common generics that are currently in short supply.
Gilead Slashes Hepatitis C Drug Costs with Authorized Generics
Hospital systems aren’t the only ones fighting high drug prices. Gilead Sciences Inc. recently announced that it would be selling cheaper versions of its hepatitis C drugs Harvoni and Epclusa.
The company said the price for a course of these treatments will now be set to $24,000—a staggering difference from Harvoni’s original price of $94,500 and Epclusa’s $74,760. Gilead will sell its authorized generics through a new subsidiary called Asegua Therapeutics.
With mounting pressures to bring more competitive prices to market, we may see more drug manufacturers follow the way of Gilead in the years to come.
Could this Year be the Worst Flu Epidemic Yet?
The CDC reports that 172 children died of the flu last year, a record high that spurs major concerns for the 2018-19 flu season. Worse yet, approximately 80% of influenza-related deaths from last year occurred in children who were not vaccinated.
It remains unclear why the 2017-18 flu season was so severe, as the strains weren’t new or unusual in any way. What was unusual was the prolonged high circulation across all 50 states.
With such mounting uncertainty, it’s not a stretch to think the 2018-19 flu season could be even worse. October is just around the corner, so make sure you and your loved ones get vaccinated.