May 15, 2019

Civica's first 2 drugs: IV antibiotics

A hospital pharmacy technician prepares an IV bag. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Civica Rx, the hospital-funded generic drug company, has signed an agreement with drugmaker Xellia Pharmaceuticals to make and supply the IV antibiotics vancomycin and daptomycin.

Why it matters: Civica is taking its first concrete step toward addressing drug shortages and high-priced generics, which will benefit patients within the 900 hospitals that are part of the nonprofit company as well as patients within the VA, which is partnering with Civica.

Details: Xellia has agreed to expand its production of the antibiotics, and Civica will buy them from Xellia at set volumes and prices over the next 5 years — guaranteed money for Xellia. 

  • "With that certainty, they're willing to make the products," Civica CEO Martin VanTrieste said, adding that annual purchases of the 2 drugs will be in the "tens of millions" of dollars.
  • Because Civica is cutting out wholesalers and other middlemen, it can offer the antibiotics at much lower rates.
  • Civica still has plans of manufacturing its own drugs, but these supplier agreements are the first phase of its development, he said.

Yes, but: Xellia is owned by the same conglomerate that owns Novo Nordisk, one of the major global insulin producers. Rod Hochman, CEO of Providence St. Joseph Health, a hospital system that backs Civica, previously told Axios the company had aspirations of making insulin, but that idea appears to be dead for now.

  • "It’s not our plan to make or procure insulin," VanTrieste said when asked about Xellia's ties to Novo Nordisk and future insulin production. "That could change in the future. But that's not in our plans at this time."

Go deeper

America's funeral homes buckle under the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Morgues, funeral homes and cemeteries in hot spots across America cannot keep up with the staggering death toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The U.S. has seen more than 10,000 deaths from the virus, and at least tens of thousands more lives are projected to be lost. The numbers are creating unprecedented bottlenecks in the funeral industry — and social distancing is changing the way the families say goodbye to their loved ones.

Go deeperArrow40 mins ago - Health

Navarro memos warning of mass coronavirus death circulated in January

Image from a memo to President Trump

In late January, President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned his White House colleagues the novel coronavirus could take more than half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, according to memos obtained by Axios.

The state of play: By late February, Navarro was even more alarmed, and he warned his colleagues, in another memo, that up to two million Americans could die of the virus.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: The virus hits home

Data: Ipsos/Axios poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The share of Americans who know someone who's tested positive has more than tripled in just a few weeks, to 14%, according to the latest installment of our Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

  • It's still highest in the Northeast, but last week alone it doubled in the South — and it's becoming most pronounced among people who still must leave home to work.