August 4, 2022 – CivicaScriptTM, a public benefit company dedicated to bringing lower-cost generic medicines to U.S. consumers, announced the availability of its first product: abiraterone acetate 250 mg tablets. Abiraterone is used together with steroid medication (prednisone) to treat prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
CivicaScript will offer abiraterone 250 mg for sale to pharmacies for $160 per bottle of 120 tablets – typically a month’s supply. CivicaScript recommends that pharmacies charge patients no more than $171 per bottle (CivicaScript’s maximum retail price, or MaxRP).
This is about $3,000 per month less than the average cost for someone with Medicare Part D, the type of insurance people with prostate cancer are most likely to have. Part D patients who use CivicaScript’s abiraterone product will significantly reduce their out-of-pocket cost both during the deductible phase, in which they pay full price for drugs, and during the “doughnut hole” phase, when they again face substantial out-of-pocket costs.
CivicaScript was co-founded in 2020 by Civica Inc., the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and 18 independent and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies to bring affordable versions of common but high-priced generic medicines to market. Its model is to identify select high-priced generic medicines and work with manufacturing partners to bring them to market at a fraction of their current cost. CivicaScript then works with like-minded payors, PBMs and pharmacies across the country who pass along the cost savings to their customers.
While many generic medicines cost less than brand-name drugs, some high-cost generics are more expensive than they need to be due to lack of competition in the market. Numerous studies confirm that medication costs can dictate whether patients ration their prescriptions or even fill them in the first place. CivicaScript, its members and its manufacturing partners are intent on addressing that problem.
Initially, CivicaScript’s abiraterone will be available through Lumicera Health Services, a specialty pharmacy that focuses on medicines for chronic and serious conditions, and through Intermountain Healthcare. Additional pharmacies will be listed on the CivicaScript website as they come on board.
The guiding principle for CivicaScript’s portfolio development is to target both specialty and traditional generics where there is greatest opportunity to substantially reduce prices for patients. The organization is initially focused on six to 10 medications for which there currently is not enough market competition to ensure low, sustainable prices.
Starting in 2024, CivicaScript also intends to distribute low-priced insulin, which will be manufactured by Civica, subject to FDA approval. Civica is building a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Petersburg, Virginia, and has entered into a co-development and commercial agreement with GeneSys Biologics for three insulin biosimilars: glargine, lispro and aspart (biologics corresponding to Lantus, Humalog and Novolog, respectively).
Civica plans to set a recommended price to the consumer of no more than $30 per insulin vial and no more than $55 for a box of five insulin pen cartridges, a significant discount to prices charged to uninsured individuals today.