Partnership announces arrival of its first product, a low-cost generic alternative to treat metastatic prostate cancer
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Aug. 4, 2022) – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is hailing the debut of the first low-cost generic drug to be produced through its partnership with CivicaScript™, which was co-founded to bring affordable versions of common but high-priced generic medicines to market.
On Tuesday, CivicaScript announced the availability of its first product: abiraterone acetate tablets, which can be prescribed together with steroid medication (prednisone) to treat prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
BCBSRI co-founded CivicaScript in 2020 along with Civica Inc., the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and 17 other independent and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
“We’re thrilled that our strategic partnership with CivicaScript is bringing a new low-cost alternative to the market,” said BCBSRI President and CEO Martha L. Wofford. “Addressing the unsustainable rise of the cost of prescription drugs and fighting for affordability for our members is a top priority for BCBSRI, and we look forward to helping bring more low-priced alternatives for insulin and other critical medications to the market.”
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. 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. Abiraterone will also be available to individuals with commercial health insurance.
CivicaScript works with like-minded payors, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and pharmacies across the country who pass along the cost savings to their customers.
Abiraterone was chosen by CivicaScript members as a priority generic medicine based on its high list price from other manufacturers and significant patient need for the product.
“This is a proud day for CivicaScript as we advance our mission to make generic medicines affordable and available to everyone,” said CivicaScript President Gina Guinasso. “I want to thank our members for their active participation in our drug-selection process, which ensures we are focusing on the right medications at the right time, and where we believe we can have immediate impact on people’s lives.”
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.
“We’re proud the first lower-cost generic drug of our partnership with CivicaScript is entering the market,” said Kim Keck, president and CEO of BCBSA and former president and CEO of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. “This is an important milestone in our shared commitment to help make prescription drugs more affordable for millions of Americans. No one should have to face breaking the bank from buying a life-saving medication.”
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.
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.
2 Based on a publicly available current average list price of glargine (Lantus), lispro (Humalog) and aspart (Novolog) on https://www.goodrx.com/.