Intermountain Healthcare is a Utah-based, not-for-profit system of 22 hospitals, a Medical Group with more than 1,600 physicians and advanced practice clinicians at about 180 clinics. Generic drugs account for 85% of the drugs Intermountain’s hospitals and clinics administer. The generic drugs account for one-third of Intermountain’s cost. As is the case for all healthcare providers, the lack of competition has enabled prices for some generic drugs to soar. In some cases the lack of manufacturing capacity has caused shortages of some vital generic drugs.
Drug prices have caused some families to bankrupt and others to jeopardize their health by cutting doses. Congress has failed to act on this critical problem, so hospitals are taking the initiative. Intermountain, along with several other non-profit hospitals are seeking Food and Drug Administration approval to manufacture and market generic drugs on their own. I have no doubt the pharmaceutical lobby will attempt to convince congress hospitals should not be allowed to create a drug company, but if successful, the move could be better than a government solution.