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Hospital Groups Have an Idea That Could Make Generic Drugs Cheaper

From TIME - January 19, 2018

(TRENTON, N.J.)Several major not-for-profit hospital groups are trying their own solution to drug shortages and high prices: creating a company to make cheaper generic drugs.

The plan, announced Thursday, follows years of shortages of generic injected medicines that are the workhorses of hospitals, along with some huge price increases for once-cheap generic drugs. Those problems drive up costs for hospitals, require staff time to find scarce drugs or devise alternatives, and sometimes mean patients dont get the best choice.

The not-for-profit drug company initially will be backed by four hospital groupsIntermountain Health, Ascension and two Catholic health systems, Trinity Health and SSM Healthplus the VA health system.

Together, the five groups include more than 450 hospitals, nearly one-tenth of U.S. hospitals. They also run numerous clinics, nursing homes, doctors offices and other medical facilities, along with hospice and home care programs and an insurance plan. More health systems are expected to join soon.

The goal is to counter the consolidation of generic drugmakers thats caused shortages for more than a decade and allowed some companies to raise prices many times over. Those include antibiotics, morphine, heart drugs and others.

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