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Fed-up hospitals plan to enter drug business themselves

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Fed up with astronomical drug prices, some of America’s largest hospital systems plan to enter the drug business themselves. Many patients would cheer them on.

“This is a shot across the bow of the bad guys,”  Marc Harrison,  M.D., the chief executive of Intermountain Healthcare, the nonprofit Salt Lake City hospital group that is spearheading the effort, told The New York Times. “We are not going to lay down. We are going to go ahead and try and fix it.”

The newspaper reported that “while Intermountain executives would not name the drugs they intend to make, hospitals have long experienced shortages of drugs like morphine or encountered sudden price increases for old, off-patent products like the heart medicine Nitropress. Hospitals have also come under criticism for overcharging for their services, including for some drugs.

“Several major hospital systems, including Ascension, a Catholic system that is the nation’s largest nonprofit hospital group, plan to form a new nonprofit company, that will provide a number of generic drugs to the hospitals. The Department of Veterans Affairs is also expressing interest in participating.

“In all, about 300 hospitals are now included in the group. Other hospitals are expected to join.”

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