U.S. hospital systems team up to launch generic drugmaker

NEW YORK, Jan 18 (Reuters) - A group of four hospital systems plans to launch a not-for-profit generic drugmaker aimed at combating shortages and high costs of some generic drugs, which they blame on unscrupulous drug companies that hike prices.

Intermountain Healthcare said on Thursday it was working with three other large U.S.-based hospital systems including Ascension, SSM Health, and Trinity Health, to form a new FDA approved manufacturing company.

An Intermountain spokesperson said the company initially plans to subcontract with manufacturers to make the drugs, including essential medications that are administered in hospitals.

The new company is being formed in consultation with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the hospitals said. The five organizations represent more than 450 hospitals around the United States.

The company will be guided by an advisory committee that includes former Nebraska Governor Bob Kerrey and two former Amgen Inc executives. (Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by David Gregorio)