The Truth About Drug Shortages

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.

Who should pay for healthcare?

Health care seems to be an issue in which everyone and their brother has an opinion on. However, not everyone and their brother can agree on how to resolve the national issue. Some are for universal health care so that even the poorest of our nation’s citizens can see a doctor; whereas others are against it because they feel every person is for him- or herself. Many believe that the government has no place in controlling health care for anyone, let alone a whole country of people, so the sole responsibility should be upon the individual. While many can agree that limited government involvement in individual matters is great for several things, they cannot seem to look the other with health care. There are several thousands of Americans that want affordable health care to be available to everyone in this nation, even the homeless.

Many people have been affected by the economical downsizing of many businesses throughout the country and thus this has created an even bigger epidemic with the issue of who is responsible for health care: the masses or the individual? If you have not personally experienced a medical hardship in which you were liable for all the costs then it seems fairly likely that you will agree that the individual is responsible for providing his or her own health care. However, if you have struggled or witnessed someone close to you, or even a stranger, struggle with either obtaining and/or keeping health care you are likely to agree with the universal health care idea.

Whether you view health care as a privilege or a right the fact of the matter still stands that we all need it. Frank Garrison touched on this in a recent Tennessean piece. The very livelihood of the human existence is reliant upon keeping the race healthy and able to maintain that help for generations to come.

Americans with Disabilities Act

America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. A bastion of equality and a shining example for the rest of the world. If all of this were true, then why did it take them 241 years to recognize and respect the rights of disabled Americans. I personally think it is shameful that the ADA has only been around since 1990 and it should have been enacted a lot sooner.

What is the ADA?

The ADA or the Americans with disabilities act, is a law that was passed in 1990, and provides protection against discrimination of the disabled under the law and is primarily utilized in the workforce. While the ADA was a landmark decision, the rights of the disabled are still subject to discrimination. For example, there are limitations on how much the disabled can earn before losing benefits such as <a href=”https://www.medicaid.gov/”>Medicaid</a>. What’s more, even though the laws have changed the mindset of employers has not. I cannot see how the intellectually disabled can ever have a chance to be independent of their parents when many of them work in minimum wage jobs. Look around the corporate offices of America and tell me how many disabled people work in the corner office. Society needs to change its attitude towards the disabled and stop limiting the potential of these able bodied members of society.

SourceAmerica is paving the way

Companies like SourceAmerica are paving the way for disabled in the workforce. SourceAmerica, founded over 40 years ago, and is an outsourcing <a href=”https://www.glassdoor.com/Jobs/SourceAmerica-Jobs-E315621.htm
“>non-profit</a> for the disabled and matches disabled workers with corporations and government organizations. SourceAmerica creates meaningful relationships and has a mission of changing the mindset of the workforce when it comes to the consideration of the disabled. All American companies need to stand behind businesses like SourceAmerica and change the outlook for the disabled persons of this country.

Organizations that are helping with flooding in India and Bangladesh

The people of Bangladesh and India have been devastated by serious flooding. They are in desperate need of help and charitable organizations are responding to their urgent needs.

The Chennai Flood Relief Fund is helping the families of the hundreds of people who have perished and families in the thousands who have been displaced and have nowhere to go. They are providing relief with emergency supplies including medicine, water, and food for the victims of the flooding. They are additionally supporting all recovery and local efforts with the donations they have received. They are assisting the efforts of the first responders to provide shelter, food, clean water, fuel, and hygiene products. After the completion of the initial efforts they are supporting efforts made for the long term.

IMRC stands for the Indian Muslim Relief & Charities. Their teams were onsite as soon as the water receded from the roadways and the airports were once again open. They immediately assisted more than 15,000 individuals by providing medical camps and began distributing emergency packages. The realize their work has just started and the victims have lost almost everything they had. Their executive director traveled to Chennai personally to help with the distribution of the emergency kits and treating the people with necessary medicine. They are working to reach the desperate and the poor. Their medical camp is focusing on the neighborhoods hit the hardest and their kits for survival are being packed and readied for distribution. The kits contain blankets, sheets for beds, mosquito coils, mosquito nets, men and women’s clothing, candles, towels, lentils, rice, tea, sugar, and cooking oil.

Islamic Relief Worldwide has concentrated their efforts in Kishanganj and Katihar where the damage from the flooding is the worst. There have been thousands of sources of water contaminated leaving the people without fresh water. They went to Bihar and Assam to set up two water treatment plants of an extremely high capacity with the capability of providing 7,500 people with clean water. Islamic Relief Worldwide has provided 5,000 households with soap, buckets, hygiene items, and temporary shelters. These numbers will increase as soon as additional funding becomes available. Two water treatment plants have been established in the Jamalpur district and are providing 3,000 people with 20 litres of clean water every day. They are assisting with the food shortages caused by the severe damage caused to large areas of cultivated land. Islamic Relief Worldwide is making a difference.
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The UAE Generously Pledges $100m to Women Entrepreneurs Fund

Women entrepreneurs’ access to investment funding may get easier thanks in large part to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE has pledged, along with Saudi Arabia, to donate 100 million dollars to a fund devoted to helping women start and run businesses. The donation will be part of a projected one-billion-dollar fund operated by the World Bank that will be formally announced in July. Named the Women Entrepreneurs Fund, it will assist women in the Middle East access markets, obtain financing, and engage in networking crucial to building a successful business.

The creation of the Women Entrepreneurs Fund represents international recognition of the importance of women in leadership positions in business. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba (https://www.facebook.com/Yousef-Al-Otaiba-162542037255423/), the UAE ambassador to the United States, issued a statement calling the donation a reflection of the positive, widespread influence of women in UAE society.

The Fund was suggested by Ivanka Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The UAE donation was announced in Saudi Arabia during President Donald Trump’s first presidential foreign trip. During the trip, Ivanka Trump visited with Saudi women to discuss the unique challenges women face in finding economic opportunities. They also talked about ways to overcome those challenges. Even though the fund was her idea, Ivanka Trump will not be involved with the fund’s operation or participate in any fundraising. Instead, complete responsibility for the fund remains with the World Bank.

World Bank president Jim Young Kim touted the fund as an outstanding idea. He credits Ivanka Trump’s leadership in bringing attention to the needs of women entrepreneurs as an important component of the fund’s establishment. He also expressed surprise at how fast the fund has already grown in recognition. The UAE donation provides a crucial boost to the fund that Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba calls further proof of the UAE’s dedication to ensuring that women have the power to make their own economic choices benefiting themselves and society.

Mitigating Drug Shortages

While there are several reasons for drug shortages in the United States, two of the most significant reasons identified for drug shortages are manufacturing issues including issues with quality control, and problems with new drug suppliers gaining online access. To facilitate access to drugs and to combat the drug shortage problem, for over 100 years, Group Purchasing Organizations or GPOs have been working with hospitals, drug manufacturers and government agencies to ensure an adequate supply of drugs is available for consumers.

One way GPOs work to combat the drug shortage problem is by negotiating drug prices from manufacturers directly with hospitals and other healthcare providers. GPOs are able to negotiate prices with drug manufacturers by buying drugs in bulk, lowering the cost for health care providers. These lower costs are then passed down to the consumer. While healthcare providers do enter into contracts, GPOs also help healthcare services renegotiate contracts as needed, continuing to ensure healthcare providers and in turn consumers, receive an adequate supply of and the best possible price on drugs.

To ensure GPOs are following ethical standards, they are constantly reviewed and have been approved by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, not to mention many medical researchers and nearly all of the hospitals within the United States.

Despite the success of and approval of GPOS, the organization Physicians Against Drug Shortages are against the use of GPOs. Members of the Physicians Against Drug Shortages do not have expertise in the area of supply and demand, but nonetheless continue to campaign against GPOs. The leader of their organization, Phillip Zweig, has led a radical smear campaign against GPOs by intimidating researchers who find benefits to the use of GPOs. Mr. Zweig has even gone as far as contacting universities demanding researchers be reprimanded by their university. Other extreme measures Mr. Zweig has taken against GPOs is to blame them for the AIDS epidemic as well as lead a conspiracy theory of the murder of two U.S. attorneys and corruption of two U.S. Senators.

In the end, despite Mr. Zweig’s outlandish claims, there have been no studies or evidence linking GPOs to drug shortages in the U.S.

Hamburg Named President of AAAS

Dr. Margaret Hamburg has been named the president of AAAS as a part of their initiative to ensure they offer the finest services possible. Having someone of such esteem at the head of their organization makes them much stronger, and this article explains how Margaret will make the group better with her knowledge. Adding people who are experts in their field is helpful, and it provides a way for the organization to move forward with new projects that they believe are important.

#1: Coming Over from The Parker Institute

Margaret comes to the AAAS from the Parker Institute where she has served as the foreign secretary. She has been invaluable in the release of medical information to countries around the world, and she has ensured many times over that she is helping those who cannot help themselves. She is very good at what she does, and she may go to the AAAS with a list of items she wishes to address. Her work is done to ensure that hospitals around the world are using the finest technology, and she may offer more service to more facilities through her new role.

#2: She Will Help Add Experience

Margaret has quite a lot of experience that she brings to the AAAS, and she wishes to help them improve their profile because she is so well-respected. She has done a wonderful job in ensuring that she has a wide range of experiences to draw on, and she will reach out to international doctors and medical professionals who are in need of a certain type of training or service. She will show them how easy it is to improve their patient care, and she will help them understand what must be learned as they expand their services.

#3: Expanding Education and Service

Expanding education for the doctors of the world is important as they must be reached by those who are experts in procedures and care. The AAAS will help by showing other doctors how they may learn, and they will send out more materials to show their clients what must be learned to improve. Margaret is a part of the educational system, and she will direct the group in outreach around the world.

Doctors who rely on the AAAS for education and services will find what they need when they visit their website. Margaret Hamburg will give the group quite a lot of experience, an improved profile and fine leadership.

Yousef Al Otaiba Makes an Impact as UAE Ambassador to the US

Preparation for a Life of Diplomacy
Yousef Al Otaiba (https://www.visualcv.com/ambassadoryousefalotaiba) was born on January 19, 1974. As the son of former OPEC president and United Arab Emirates (UAE) oil minister Mana Al Otaiba, he got a glimpse of the world of negotiation and cooperation on an international scale. As a young man, Al Otaiba attended the Cairo American College, which gave him opportunities to develop himself in an international environment. Yousef Al Otaiba continued on this international track by completing a degree at Georgetown University and accepting a fellowship at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

These experiences would position him well for his future career, particularly in terms of his understanding of the culture, politics, and institutions of the United States. Before taking a post abroad, though, Yousef Al Otaiba headed back to the UAE to serve under Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan as Director of International Affairs for the Court of the Crown Prince. During his tenure, he gained experience working with American military, diplomatic, and intelligence officials. He also persuaded other actors in the region to lend their support to the “surge” in Iraq.

Ambassadorship and Philanthropy
After a stint as the UAE’s non-resident ambassador to Mexico, Yousef Al Otaiba accepted an appointment as ambassador to the United States in 2008. Many observers have called Yousef Al Otaiba a welcomed moderate Muslim voice. He has clearly stated his opposition to groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS; he has also taken a cautious approach to Iran.

Beyond his obvious duty to promote economic and political cooperation between the United States and the UAE, the ambassador has sought to cultivate a positive image of his country through various philanthropic activities. Among these activities, he has held fundraisers for institutions and organizations providing medical care to children. This includes a $150 million donation to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. The ambassador knows how to plan an event and whom to invite, a skill which he has used to raise funds for other medical centers, too. In the aftermath of natural disasters in the United States, such as Hurricane Sandy and the tornadoes that wreaked havoc in Joplin, Missouri, Yousef Al Otaiba organized emergency relief efforts for the affected areas.

Service across Administrations
In 2010, the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce recognized Yousef Al Otaiba as the Ambassador of the Year. Having straddled three different administrations during his time as ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba continues to use his networking and diplomatic skills to improve financial, military, and cultural ties between the UAE, the US, and other regional powers in the Middle East. He lives with his wife, Abeer Al Otaiba, in McLean, Virginia.

Philanthropies that work with Religions for Peace

Religions for Peace is an organization that was founded in 1970 that strives to bring religious communities together for the purpose of peace. This organization is run by its vision of creating a world where religious communities cooperate together for peace by combining through common actions. They are committed to leading efforts on the international stage that foster peace through local, national, and international levels. Religions for Peace work with many different organizations from all over the world to achieve this mission. A few of the organizations include:

World Justice Forum

This independent organization has the purpose of working towards advancing the rule of law all over the world. Through their many efforts, they are fighting corruption, poverty, disease, and general injustices. They believe that by eliminating these injustices, communities can experience equity, peace, and opportunity. The World Justice Forum engages leaders and citizens from around the world in many different disciplines to change and advance these rules of law. Their goal is to increase awareness about injustices, help with policy reforms, and create programs that can be used on community levels.

Islamic Relief Worldwide

IRUSA has been around for 32 and has a presence in more than 40 countries. They strive to make the world a better place for the more than 3 billion people that are living in poverty. This organization is guided by the Islamic faith, which gives them a passion for having a duty to those less fortunate, regardless of political affiliation, gender, race, or beliefs. Their goal is to empower and join together communities to lessen the suffering of people of all religions.

Church World Service

For more than 70 years, the Church World Service has worked to build a world that creates enough for everyone. They believe that each individual and community has the right to take ownership of their own futures. Regardless of religious beliefs, every person has the right to create their own lives. This organization stays on the ground, helping communities create solutions that they can maintain on their own. They help refugees find and start new lives, communities start over after disaster, and regions create new agricultural and educational services.

CARE, International Inc.

This organization promotes empowerment, addresses discrimination, promotes non-violent resolutions, seeks sustainable results, and works in partnership with others to promote the protection of humanitarianism. They provide individuals and communities with assistance based on their needs, regardless of nationality, race, or religious backgrounds. Their vision is to continuously seek tolerance, social justice, and hope for every person.

New Republican health care blueprint falls far short

Congressional Republicans have been working on a health care reform plan – behind closed doors, away from public scrutiny – for more than seven years. Periodically, GOP leaders assure everyone that their alternative to “Obamacare” is nearly complete, and its unveiling is imminent, only to quietly change the subject soon after.

As lawmakers left Congress late last week for a week-long break, the Republican placement for the ACA still doesn’t exist, but House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) didn’t want to send his members home empty-handed – especially knowing that they’d face concerned constituents, fearing what GOP lawmakers might do to their families’ health security – so Republicans left DC armed with an outline of some vague ideas about where the majority party is headed.

That’s the good news. We’re a long way from having a real, detailed GOP plan to consider, but we can at least take a closer look at what Ryan & Co. have come up with thus far, which is better than literally nothing.

The bad news is, you’re really not going to like the Republican outline. A New York Times editorial yesterday summarized the key provisions nicely…
Read the full story here

Source: MSNBC.com