Making health care sustainably affordable is an unwavering part of Blue Shield of California’s mission – and addressing the cost of prescription drugs is a critical step towards ensuring access to high-quality health care at an affordable price. Skyrocketing prescription drug costs are fueled by a lack of competition from low-cost alternative medications to bring down market prices. In 2020, Blue Shield invested in Civica to help create quality and affordable generics, and the results from Civica have dramatically reduced the treatment costs of diabetes and prostate cancer.
Civica, a nonprofit, was founded in 2018 by a consortium of hospital and healthcare systems including the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 18 independent Blue Cross Blue Shield companies. Blue Shield of California was one of the leading plans to drive the $55 million funding of Civica and its subsidiaries, CivicaScript and Civica Rx.
Civica Rx made waves when they announced $30 insulin vials, and the disruption to the pharmaceutical market was substantial. Civica and the State of California entered a 10-year partnership to provide residents with $30 insulin, saving patients hundreds of dollars per vial. Major manufacturers like Eli Lilly and Sanofi followed suit, capping the cost of their insulin at $35. This radical shift in pricing means the millions of Americans who have rationed their insulin will now have affordable options to receive the lifesaving medicine they need.
The first drug launched by Civica subsidiary CivicaScript was abiraterone acetate. The generic drug is used to treat prostate cancer that spread to other parts of the body and hit the market in August 2022. The recommended maximum price for pharmacies is $171 per bottle of abiraterone acetate – about $3,000 less per month than the current cost of medication.
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