These insurance companies pledged $55M to lower generic drug prices amidst national crisis

The first batch of lower-cost generics could hit the market in 2022.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 18 independently operated Blue Cross Blue Shield companies announced Thursday they were partnering with the nonprofit generic drug manufacturer Civica Rx to create a subsidiary dedicated to "lowering the cost of select generic drugs," according to a joint statement.

Their first batch of generic medicines should become available by early 2022.

The move comes at a time when the pharmaceutical industry and lawmakers have faced immense pressure to lower the cost of prescription drugs. In 2019, a record 51 laws in 33 states were enacted to address drug prices and access. As the 2020 presidential campaigns ramp up, health care costs remains a key issue for voters.

"We believe everyone should have access to health care, no matter who they are or where they live," Scott P. Serota, president and CEO of BCBSA, said in a statement.

He added that he hopes "others will join us to achieve the change Americans want to see in the health care system."