By Richard H. Levey
The nonprofit Civica Rx, Lehi, Utah, announced it will manufacture and distribute insulin at a price well below current market levels. Civica is a nonprofit with the mission of making injectables available in adequate supply and at an affordable price to all, with a special focus on high-needs populations.
Rollout of the effort is contingent, in part, on successful completion of clinical trials and U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. Current plans call for Civica Rx to supply three insulins named glargine, lispro and aspart, which are biologics intended to be interchangeable with current insulin products Lantus, Humalog and Novolog, respectively.
As currently structured, Civica’s insulin’s price will be capped at $30 per vial, and no more than $55 for a box of five pen cartridges. While prices vary based on dosage and type of insulin, uninsured individuals currently pay around $60 to $400 per vial, and $330 to $715 for a box of five pens, according to the GoodRx website.
Civica is no stranger to the healthcare industry. It currently provides around 60 generic injectable medicines to more than 1,500 hospitals that are part of a 55 hospital systems. To date, the organization has produced almost 70 million vials or syringes of medications.
Civica is basing its price on the cost of development, production and distribution, without incorporating the various markups and rebates that currently boost the price of insulin. Its insulins will be produced in conjunction with GeneSys Biologics at a manufacturing plant under construction in Petersburg, Va. The plant is expected to be up and running by early 2024 with glargine the first insulin scheduled to be produced.
Civica’s initiative mirrors federal efforts to lower the cost of insulin. In February, the Affordable Insulin Now Act (H.R.6833 and S.3700) were introduced in the U.S. House and Senate, respectively, and referred to various committees. Some versions of Build Back Better legislation also have affordable insulin provisions within them. While these bills would cap insulin costs at $35 or less per month, the cap would only apply to people with Medicare coverage or who are privately insured.
If all goes as planned, Civica insulins will be distributed through hospitals and retail and home delivery pharmacies that agree to sell the insulins at no more than the recommended price.
According to Civica’s most recent Form 990, for the year ending December 2019, the organization had nearly $7.7 million in revenue against just less than $11.4 million in expenses. Its net assets stood at $16.7 million.
Civica’s work is funded by a variety of partners throughout the diabetes ecosystem, including Arnold Ventures, Beyond Type 1, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 12 independent BCBS companies (Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Hawaii, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, Blue Cross of Idaho, Blue Shield of California, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Florida Blue, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Independence Blue Cross), Gary and Mary West Foundation, Glen E. Tullman Fund, Intermountain Healthcare, JDRF, Kaiser Permanente, Peterson Center on Healthcare, Providence, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Transcarent and Trinity Health.