This Utah biotech company is producing affordable insulin
There are over 35 million Americans currently diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, a disease that results from the body’s inability to properly produce (Type 1) or recognize (Type 2) blood sugar efficiently. Of these millions, about one-third of diabetes patients rely on daily insulin doses to manage this disruptive disease. With this comes a tremendous burden physically, mentally, and financially.
Out-of-pocket costs for insulin, regardless of insurance status, have been soaring for decades. Now, insulin formulations retail between $175 and $300 a vial. The majority of insulin-dependent patients require two or more of these per month. Inevitably, this leads to around one-quarter of diabetic patients dependent on insulin finding a way around their scheduled doses, often trimming their medication usage despite medical guidance.
Clearly, something needs to change—and Civica Rx is looking to help that change along.
Hospitals initially created Civica Rx, a nonprofit generic drug company, to secure the supply of important medicines they use every day, addressing the problems of chronic shortages of essential medicines, unpredictable price inflation of essential generic medications, and predatory pricing for certain generic prescriptions.
Civica has secured access to vital generic sterile injectable medications used for patients who need them in emergency room care, surgeries, serious illness, and Covid patient care while generating millions of dollars in savings for hospitals. The nonprofit has ensured stable and predictable supplies—and fair pricing—of nearly 60 different quality generic medications to date.
Most recently, Civica announced its plans to manufacture and distribute affordable medications for consumers in an outpatient/retail setting, including affordable insulin, beginning in 2024.
"this leads to around one-quarter of diabetic patients dependent on insulin finding a way around their scheduled doses, often trimming their medication usage despite medical guidance."
“Consistent with Civica’s mission, we are driving drastic—not incremental—change to ensure access for all to affordable insulin, so no one has to choose between this vital medication and living expenses,” says Debbi Ford, chief communications and public affairs officer at Civica. “The single, transparent price of Civica insulins will be based on the cost of development, production, and distribution without the mark-ups and rebates that distort the price of insulin today. As a nonprofit, we can make that happen just as we have with so many other medications.”
Incredibly, Civica is able to offer diabetic patients insulin priced at no more than $30 a vial and no more than $55 for a five-pack of pre-filled pens, according to Ford.
“Partners from nearly every corner of the diabetes ecosystem are behind our effort. We are grateful for their support and confident we will drive much-needed change,” she says.
Civica Rx plans to produce three insulin biosimilars: glargine, lispro, and aspart. Each will be available in vials and pre-filled pens and will be sold at significantly lower prices than insulins currently on the market. The company just selected Profil as a clinical trial partner, which has conducted over 30 biosimilar insulin trials and is the leading clinical research organization for studies related to diabetes.
Given all the financial and social constraints endured these past few years, there seems to be no better timing than the present for Civica to emerge as a leader toward a brighter future for therapeutic insulin solutions worldwide. With support from the BioHive and local community, there is tremendous hope for diabetic care to become much more accessible and affordable to all who desperately need it.