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Aspirus joins national effort to reduce chronic drug shortages


WAUSAU, Wis. – Aspirus has partnered with Civica Rx, a non-profit, non-stock company based in Utah that promotes the availability of affordable, essential generic drugs for use in patient care. The Civica Rx venture was established in 2018 and is a collaborative effort between philanthropies and health systems that represents more than 800 U.S. hospitals to date.

By partnering in this venture, Aspirus is joining a national effort to stabilize the supply and affordability of essential generic drugs so positive benefits can be brought to patients Aspirus serves throughout north central Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

“We are thrilled to welcome Aspirus as a partnering member of Civica,” said Martin VanTrieste, CEO of Civica Rx. “Drug shortages have become a challenge nationally, and while we know that no one entity alone can solve this crisis, we thank Aspirus for helping to lead the way.”

A major focus of Civica Rx is to address the growing frustration caused by persistent shortages of vital generic medications caused by economics and market dynamics. During the past several years, more than 200 drugs have been on and off the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s drug shortage list. These shortages and uncertainty can directly impact patient care at hospitals.

“We think this partnership is of great importance because it will have a positive impact on our patients and it will allow our health professionals to spend more time focusing on excellent, compassionate patient care,” said Gary Rakes, vice president of supply chain at Aspirus. “When you have persistent drug shortages and cost variability, it requires caregivers to spend valuable time searching for drug alternatives or developing alternative care plans.”

Civica Rx is designed to ensure essential generic medicines are consistently accessible and affordable for its partners within a robust and reliable supply chain. As part of the initial focus of the company’s efforts, Civica expects to bring more than 14 hospital-administered generic drugs to hospitals and health care systems in 2019.

Going forward, additional medications will then be prioritized as they are identified by member health care systems to have the greatest impact on patient care. The company is working toward becoming an FDA-approved manufacturer and will either directly manufacture generic drugs or sub-contract manufacturing to trusted supply partners.


Aspirus is a non-profit, community-directed health system based in Wausau, Wisconsin. Its 7,700 employees are focused on improving the health and well-being of people throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Aspirus serves communities through four hospitals in Michigan and four hospitals in Wisconsin, 50 clinics, home health and hospice care, pharmacies, critical care and air-medical transport, medical goods, nursing homes and a broad network of physicians. Aspirus was recognized by IBM Watson Health as a Top 15 Health System in its 2018 annual study identifying the top-performing health systems in the country.

Civica Rx is a not-for-profit, non-stock generic drug manufacturing company that acts in the best interest of patients who are at risk during drug shortages that are created by inconsistent, unpredictable, and often unstable market dynamics. Civica Rx was founded in the public interest by hospital systems concerned about generic drug shortages and Philanthropic organizations passionate about improving health care. As part of Civica Rx’s business model, member health systems determine the drugs that Civica Rx manufactures based largely on the most urgent need. The process for drug selection goes through a newly created Civica Rx Drug Selection Advisory Committee, with medications to manufacture ultimately approved by Civica Rx’s governing board.