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Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

A new initiative aiming to create cheaper generic drugs for retail pharmacies signed on Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield — one the largest insurers in the U.S. — as well as drug manufacturer Catalent as partners, officials announced this morning.

Driving the news: The newly-named CivicaScript, a subsidiary of the hospital-owned non-profit drug maker Civica Rx, is the latest effort by the health care industry to get control of generic drug prices.

  • Civica also announced they brought on industry veteran Gina Guinasso, formerly of OptumRx, as president of CivicaScript.

Civica officials say the plan is to develop and manufacture six to 10 common, high-priced generic medications without enough competition to drive down the price.

  • They declined to specify which drugs they will target. They also said they are planning to launch their first drug in 2022 but declined to be more specific.

With its 43 million members, Anthem was a significant addition to the initiative by bringing a larger piece of the market to the table, said Martin VanTrieste, Civica Rx's CEO.

  • "It also allows us to be more efficient in manufacturing. Efficiency in manufacturing allows us to reduce our cost which can be passed on to the consumer," he said.

Go deeper

Aug 11, 2021 - Health

VA won't cover Biogen's Alzheimer's drug

The VA hospital in Phoenix. Photo: Caitlin O'Hara/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs has excluded Aduhelm, the $56,000-per-year Alzheimer's drug made by Biogen and Eisai, from its list of approved drugs due to the drug's "lack of evidence of a robust and meaningful clinical benefit and the known safety signal," Endpoints News reports.

Why it matters: Some hospitals and health insurers have said they will not provide or cover Aduhelm, but the VA is the largest entity yet to spurn the drug.

Rachel Levine sworn in as first openly transgender 4-star officer

Rachel Levine testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Feb. 25, 2021. Photo: Caroline Brehman-Pool/Getty Images

Rachel Levine was sworn in on Tuesday as the admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, making her the nation's first openly transgender four-star officer, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

The big picture: Levine, the assistant secretary for health, made history in March when she became the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's carbon emissions-cutting pledge faces tough climb

Image from the Rhodium Group study "Pathways to Paris." Courtesy of the Rhodium Group.

The verdict is in: President Biden's U.S. emissions-cutting pledge isn't a fantasy, but the path to meeting it is very difficult and relies on forces outside of White House control.

Driving the news: The Rhodium Group just released an analysis of policy combinations that could close the gap between the current U.S. trajectory and Biden's vow under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions in half by 2030.