Members of the medical device community are attacking group purchasing organizations referred to as GPO’s. This community is responsible for negative headlines, have linked the industry to the healthcare crisis, and blamed them for the drug shortages, due to their own financial interests. The GPO’s are not responsible for the drug shortages, and many of the facts, and myths are discussed below.
The myth states the Physicians Against Drug Shortages have no ulterior motives, or conflicts of interest. The fact is this group does not contain many individuals. They have no expertise, training, or experience in the management of supply chains. The Executive Director is Phillip Zweig who participated in a campaign against GPO’s that lasted a decade. He represents the medical device industry, and has sued the GPO’s. He has tried to implicate GPO’s for corruption, murder, and the AIDS virus.
The Physicians Against Drug Shortages has a website registered to a legal firm that has sued the GPO’s. Academics with a positive reaction to GPO’s have been harassed by Phil Zweig, bullied into recanting their studies, and he has tried to have their universities discipline them. Physicians, and provider groups have been approached by the Physicians Against Drug Shortages, and Phil Zweig to join them.
The myth states prescription drug shortages are caused by the GPO’s. Prescription drug shortages have been examined by the Government Accountability Office, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The GPO’s were not among the causes they found. Sagent, and Hospira manufacture sterile injectable drugs. Both have made public statements that the GPO’s have nothing to do with any shortages of drugs. The shortages are from entry barriers, disruptions, and manufacturing problems. The GPO’s are working to eliminate drug shortages.
The myth states the practices of GPO’s have made manufacturing sterile injectable drugs unprofitable. The contracts with GPO’s are voluntary, and competitive. Most hospitals make their purchases from contracts, and pricing is adjusted when necessary. The GPO’s do not sell, compound, or manufacture these drugs. The GPO’s would not have a role if there were no products. The GPO’s work with distributors, manufacturers, and hospitals so a reliable, and safe supply of products is readily available for providers in the healthcare field. The GPO’s do not participate in any practices that are anticompetitive, they do not accept kickbacks, and they do not manipulate the market. The Department of Justice, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office have reviewed all the business practices of the GPO’s.