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Friday, Dec 1, 2023

Generic Drug Plan in 2021 State Budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom, as part of the state’s $222 billion budget, is proposing a generic drug program called CalRx to help lower drug costs for Californians. The program makes California the first state to create its own generic drug label, according to Newsom’s website on the budget. Also, Medi-Cal will be transformed under the program to establish a single market for drug pricing within the state. The idea isn’t a new one, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposing a similar program on a federal level and more than 500 hospitals, including Providence St. Joseph Health, introducing Civica Rx in 2018, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. Civica Rx was founded in September 2018 as a nonprofit, non-stock corporation aiming to supply generics in a hospital setting. CommonSpirit Health, HCA Healthcare, Intermountain Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, SSM Health and Trinity Health joined with St. Joseph and philanthropic organizations to form Civica. A Utah patient in October was the first to get a generic prescription filled using the program, according to a statement from the organization. If a hospital is a member of a Civica health system, it is a member of Civica Rx, a representative with the organization said. Hospitals in the San Fernando Valley that fall under Civica Rx include Providence Tarzana Medical Center, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, and Dignity Health – Northridge Hospital Medical Center. The Northridge location is part of CommonSpirit Health; Dignity Health joined with Catholic Health Initiatives last year to form a new health organization – CommonSpirit. At the local level, programs such as Drug-Cost Transparency Services, for members of Providence St. Joseph Health, Gemini Health and Blue California, aim to help Valley patients save on prescription drugs, but not specifically generics. CalRx would only apply to generics, which make up 90 percent of prescriptions filled in the United States. The hope is the state’s program would drive competition in the generic drug market. Uncommon generic drugs with a small number of manufacturers will likely be affected the most by the program, while commonly used drugs for everyday ailments would not vary much in price.

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