Pharmaceutical Company Operates With the Heart of a Nonprofit, Soul of Social Enterprise
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
A San Francisco-based pharmaceutical company is bringing a new contraceptive to the U.S. market. The product is Liletta, an intrauterine device (IUD), which, like any other IUD, is long-lasting and highly effective at preventing pregnancy when inserted properly.
However, the story here is not the product — it’s the company’s model as an all-in-one nonprofit, social enterprise and pharmaceutical company.
“We’re showing the pharmaceutical industry that there’s another model,” Pamela Weir, chief operating officer of Medicines360, told MintPress News.
That model is an affordable, accessible 340B Drug Discount Pricing Program model sustained not by donations, but by sales. Liletta is sold in the private sector through a distribution partner, Actavis, and Medicines360 receives a portion of the profits. Those profits directly support the company’s mission of expanding contraceptive access to women in the public sector.
“That’s the model we want to show and make it sustainable financially,” Weir said.
Medicines360 formed through an initial grant in 2009 to tackle one question: “What are the unmet needs in women’s health?” They quickly determined that a major issue were the hurdles standing between women and long-lasting contraceptives. To date, Liletta is the only branded drug that’s ever been developed specifically to expand access for women.
“We put women first by removing the barriers that prevent them from getting the best contraceptive choices, including awareness, education and cost,” Weir said. “Women everywhere deserve access to quality medicines, regardless of socioeconomic status, insurance coverage or geography.”