Physicians Against Drug Shortages Versus GPO’s

For over ten years, groups such as “Physicians Against Drug Shortages,” have accused the medical industry of causing several medical crises. Phillip Zweig, the Executive Director of this group has led the charges against group purchasing organizations (GPO) with inflammatory accusations. The latest charge being leveled at the GPO’s is that they are responsible for the medical shortage. Zweig has not followed up with any pertinent evidence but has practiced in such half-truths or completely false statements as:

• Contract practices of the GPO have discouraged and made unprofitable for manufacturers of sterile injectable prescription drugs.
• GPO’s use a vague law to engage in market manipulation, accept kickbacks and encourage anticompetitive contracts.
• GPO’s are the primary cause of the shortage of prescription drugs.

• Contracts with the GPO are voluntary; they are products of market negotiations. Companies can cancel contracts at any time. Manufacturers are sensitive to the market reaction and often adjust prices accordingly.
• GPO’s do not take possession of, compound or sell any prescription drugs that are in shortage.
• GPO’s have been inspected and regulated by Government Accountability Office, Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, among other groups.
• All outside of the industry studies and research have shown that GPO’s save billions in the cost of healthcare each year to the delivery systems. These studies are independent and well documented.
• It is not in the best economic interest for GPO’s to prevent or restrict manufacturers to deliver the product. This is counter-intuitive to the mission of GPO’s.
• The goal of the GPO is to ensure that there are more suppliers and delivery to meet the needs of the healthcare system.

There also seems to be some misunderstanding about Mr. Zweig and his organization
• Physicians Against Drug Shortages is an independent grassroots organization with no conflicts of interest
• This group has no ulterior motive for attacking GPO’s
• This group consists of a small group of individuals who have no experience or education in the field of supply chain management.
• Trial attorneys and the medical device industry have used the Director, Phillip Zweig, for a decade-long attack against the GPO. Zweig has gone so far as to accuse the GPO of being responsible for the increase in AIDs exposure and the murder of two of his associate attorneys.
• If you search the internet for the Physician Against Drug Shortages website-you will find it located under the umbrella of a plaintiff law firm known for suing the GPO. This certainly indicates a conflict of interest.
• Many academics who have published work to support GPO’s have been harassed by Mr. Zweig, in an effort to have them change their opinion.
• Despite many attempts to attract other healthcare providers or organizations, Mr. Zweig’s group remains small and unimpressive.

Once you have taken an unbiased look at the true facts, it is easy to surmise that the GPO is not responsible for the drug shortage nor any of the other medical crisis real or imagined by Phillip Zweig.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi on Managing Food Allergies Safely

For some, being diagnosed with food allergies can be a limiting experience, but with the right management techniques, there is no reason why they should stop you from living your life freely and happily. Some of the most common allergies include peanuts and other nuts, shellfish, and wheat.

While many people associate food allergies with children, around 35 percent of adults are diagnosed after age 18. No matter what the age, those with food allergies need to stay vigilant and take appropriate steps to manage their allergy. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi ( recently shared some of their most important tips and precautions when it comes to managing food allergies.

Allergy Management and Safety Tips
While shopping at the grocery store for weekly meals, you will want to make sure that you read all the labels on your food before you buy it. Many of the most common allergens will be listed right on the packaging. By reading ahead, you can avoid unwanted surprises. The same goes for eating with friends or family. If you know you may have a hard time finding something safe to eat, go ahead and volunteer to bring something along to share, and that way you will know you can eat safely when you arrive.

As you cook, you need to keep your space allergen free. At home, keep the foods separated so there is no cross-contamination, and make sure that the same rule extends to plates, utensils, and cookware.

Dining Out with Care
When dining out, make sure you call ahead to see which dishes are going to be allergen free and talk to your waiter before ordering so the chain of communication is clear. The same rules about cross-contamination apply to restaurants, so expressing your needs is essential in order to avoid being sick.

What to do When a Reaction Occurs
If all else fails and you feel an allergic reaction going on, the first line of defense is to use an approved prescription medication, like epinephrine, to reduce and control the symptoms. Many allergies can trigger anaphylaxis shock, and the medication can make a crucial difference. If you know you are at risk, always carry your prescription medication with you. See more tips at

Having a special allergen ID can also be a simple yet lifesaving measure if you are at risk for severe food allergies. Put them on your person or if your child has the allergies, keep it with them while at school or play so people will know immediately what to do and how to help. Your doctor can advise you with what to say on the ID.

Making sense of drug shortages

More than 7 billion people call the planet Earth home. Each of these humans have, or can benefit from amazing advancements in medical science. One of the most beneficial types of advancements is the ever-evolving diversity of prescription medications. These medications treat everything from the flu, to a host of horrible diseases.

At times, there are notable shortages in the availability of certain drugs. This affects the ability of pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and community health organizations to distribute certain drugs consistently. Whenever a shortage occurs, there is an immediate response to place blame on a particular organization. The first type of organization to incur undue blame is the GPO.

A significant percentage of modern drugs are produced in laboratory facilities. These facilities must adhere to strict governmental and trade standards that do not always match the pace of human need. When a drug shortage happens, it can be caused by any number of triggers.

First on the list is batching. This is especially pertinent when it comes to drugs that are meant to combat viruses. Many times, there are only a few designated producers of patent-compliant drugs available that have the job of distribution. Though these producers work at maximum efficiency, their output does not match need. This is a natural and practical reason for some drug shortages.

Another reason for drug shortages resides in the legal arena. Court orders issued by judges with a penchant for interference in the world of medical manufacturing can create a blockade for drugs that are ready to go to market. These are not necessarily orders that are outcomes of lawsuits, but rest solely on the whim of activist judges who interfere with common market behaviors.

The most misguided believe in the cause of drug shortages is the work of GPOs. Many people believe that group purchasing organizations create scarcity in the prescription drug market. This is statistically untrue, and groups like Physicians Against Drug Shortages led by Phillip Zweig have falsely accused GPOs of such. The vast majority of GPOs purchase supplies of drugs that are already marked for distribution. This means the drugs are immediately distributed where they are needed most. GPOs also regularly recycle huge orders for patented drugs if their buyers do not come through. This means the supply of certain drugs remain fluid on the market, and can be distributed without any form of perceived monopolization.

GPO inclusion in the prescription drug industry is extremely important because it guarantees that drugs will be available in the most highly populated networks. No statistical evidence has proved that GPO involvement in the drug industry has ever created a shortage in a popular and effective medication type.

Scholar, Scientist, Physician, Public Servant

Margaret A. Hamburg is a graduate of Radcliff College and received a medical degree from Harvard Medical School. Her research was in neuroscience at Rockefeller University in New York, and she studied neuropharmacology at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Hamburg was raised by prominent physicians. Her friends were related to the medical profession. Her expertise is in community health. She is also an expert in a field not usually associated with the medical profession in the areas of biodefense, and preparedness for nuclear, biological, and chemical threats.

Because of Dr. Hamburg’s expertise in appreciating the danger of these threats, she supported a foundation devoted to public safety, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which appointed her as the vice president for biological programs.

Dr. Hamburg has focused on AIDS research, serving as the assistant director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), from 1989 to 1990. Further, she has been associated with the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

From 1991 to 1997, Dr. Hamburg served as health commissioner for New York City. She developed cutting-edge programs for containing the proliferation of tuberculosis and AIDS. The TB rate fell by 86 percent for the most resistant strains.

In 1997, she was appointed by President Clinton to be assistant secretary for policy and evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2009, President Obama appointed Dr. Hamburg as the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Hamburg is a member of the board of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. She has been heralded to have a wealth of experience in science, health care, and regulatory affairs.

The Parker Institute has forged a collaborative relationship with outstanding scientists, clinicians, and industry. The Parker Institute coordinates the cancer immunotherapy research effort. Its primary goal is the advancement of the understanding of immune therapies capable of curing cancer.

As a board member of the Parker Institute, Dr. Hamburg, in 2015, was appointed the foreign secretary of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Dr. Margaret Hamburg has now been named as the president-elect for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Her term will begin in February 2017.

On top of all this dedication to public service, Margaret Hamburg’s most precious accomplishment is a mother of two children, while she gave birth while employed as New York City Health Commissioner.


New Gene Therapy for Cancer Offers Hope

Dimas Padilla thought he was dying for sure.

He’d been through the wringer with a type of blood cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. First, he tried chemotherapy, and then, when the cancer came back a year and a half later, he underwent a bone marrow transplant.

But last year, when it came back again, he believed he was out of options.

“I was losing my battle against cancer,” Padilla, a 43-year-old sales representative, told NBC News.

Then he found out about an experimental therapy that’s a step beyond bone marrow transplants.

Called chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy — CAR-T for short — it involves taking a samples of T-immune cells called T-cells from a patient, genetically engineering them, and putting them back in to fight the cancer.

Continue to the original article


The UAE Makes Polio Eradication a Top Priority

Poliomyelitis, or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease most often referred to as Polio. Polio mostly affects the leg muscles but can also occur in the muscles of the head, neck, and diaphragm. The disease was widely spread in Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan but it was estimated in August 2015 that polio cases are down 75% YTD in Pakistan. In Nigeria and Afghanistan however, the disease remains endemic.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has made the complete eradication of polio its mission. Since 2011, there has been a partnership between UAE and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Together they have been working on spreading awareness of the crippling disease internationally, fundraising resources to producing and distributing vaccines against polio.

In 2013, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bill Gates hosted the very first Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi. During the event, Bill Gates announced that polio eradication was close and very much an achievable goal. The event was attended by a representative from each of the polio-affected countries and a number of organizations such as the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and Rotary International – all part of the GPEI.

Over $100 million have been geared towards supporting the immunization process. In order to spread awareness of the undertaken action, a documentary was filmed that showcases the vaccination efforts of healthcare workers in Pakistan. The documentary is called Every Last Child and is produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi.

The UAE/Pakistani assistance in the eradication of polio has produced amazing results. In May 2015, estimates show that over 86.6 million vaccination doses have been administered and more than 20.6 million children under the age of five have received vaccination and have been protected from the polio virus. In 2013, The United Arab Emirates have also contained the polio outbreak in Syria. In Nigeria there has not been a single case of polio since 2014, proving that a polio-free world can be achieved.

With only Pakistan and Afghanistan left the effort continues. In addition to working with the Gates Foundation, the UAE has also partnered with USAID and a number of nongovernmental organizations. These partnerships will continue the fight to eradicate the polio virus from Pakistan and Afghanistan by continuing to spread awareness worldwide and raise resources for vaccines.

The real cause behind drug shortages

Group Purchasing Organization’s (GPO’s) have been under attack from some in the medical device community that stand to benefit financially by hindering them. For more than ten years, through misinformation about GPO’s, this small group of medical professionals have behaved very unprofessionally by trying to blame every health care crisis, including medicine shortages, on GPO’s.

According to research by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other government agencies, GPO’s are not responsible for drug shortages. Documented facts show that problems with production, quality control and difficulties with bringing new suppliers online is the reason for shortages. GPO’s work towards healthy competition in the market to relieve this situation, not make it worse as some would claim.

Contracts with GPO’s are voluntary, not forced, and hospitals are still entitled to purchase off contract if they choose. The savings, administration and business policies of GPO’s have been completely reviewed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office as well as nearly every hospital in the U.S. Apparently, Physicians Against Drug Shortages don’t have the experience needed to successfully manage a supply chain.

Phil Zwieg, the Director of Physicians Against Drug Shortages, has even tried to bully academics whose research puts GPO’s in a more positive light and force them to change their opinions. Zwieg has even gone so far as to try to have them punished by their universities if they don’t cooperate and recant. No, it isn’t any GPO responsible for drug shortages. The answer to that question can be found in those working against them.

Perhaps if Phil Zwieg and his supporters shifted their focus from trying to destroy GPO’s to one of cooperation instead, this problem of drug shortages would fade away. Or maybe not, but one thing is certain. For as long as politics and medicine are mixed, it’s the patient who is going to suffer the most.

Nail Polish: The New Date Rape Detector?

Nail polish is something that a lot of women enjoy wearing, especially when they can experiment with different colors, styles and designs. It makes us feel pretty, unique and most of all, shows off how awesome our nails look. But how much more would we love nail polish if it could save our lives? That’s what four students from North Carolina State University are hoping to do with Undercover Colors (, a company they created while in school, to help women determine if their drink contains a date rape drug (

The idea came out of a senior design project in their department at NC State. The four students, Tyler Confrey-Maloney, Stephen Gray, Ankesh Madan and Tasso Von Windheim, wanted something that could alert women that they were in danger without bringing attention to them if they were in a sensitive situation, such as with a guy at a bar or at a party. And they thought, instead of trying to create something new, how about using a product that women are already familiar with and transferring it into something that could potentially save their lives.

Undercover Colors nail polish stickers will serve as an early warning system to women to protect themselves and to be aware of their surroundings as all these young men know someone who has been sexually assaulted and wanted something that would prevent sexual assault from happening to anyone else. The nail polish itself will be clear and when dipped into a drink, will change color if the drink contains a drug such as Rohypnol. The hope is that this company will not only bring awareness to sexual assault, but also serve as a deterrent for predators who want to take advantage of women and see alcohol as a perfect vehicle to do just that. This nail polish will serve as a preventive measure and will turn women into survivors, not victims.

With the funding and worldwide recognition Undercover Colors has received, it is now a fully-formed company with seven employees. And it won’t be long until we’re seeing their polish on store shelves across the country—look for Undercover Colors nail polish stickers next year.

Ambrotose: Health Supplement Improves Focus in Gamers

With the competitive gaming scene growing at exponential rates, gamers are often looking for the next big thing in order to one-up their opponent. Intense matches, rather it be in League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Halo, Counter Strike or another competitive game, are often won with small shifts in the teamwork dynamic. Small communication errors and being caught out of position can quite literally win or lose a game for you in a matter of seconds.

Many competitive gamers rely on their tournament winnings in order to provide a steady financial income for their professional lives. As a result, Mannatech decided to step into the market with their product named Ambrotose. Ambrotose helps by increasing the amount of focus and attention a gamer is capable of producing during those long and strenuous gaming matches. Similarly, Ambrotose can aide in the memory centers of the brain and help gamers remember strategies and formulate plans in order to facilitate an attack.

Ambrotose is a highly sought after new health supplement that been put through the wringer in terms of scientific testing and clinical trials. Mannatech has conducted numerous double blind, placebo based studies that all reveal that the formula does indeed help cognitive function within the individual consuming it. Moreover, the product helps boost the immune system and produces a healthy internal ecosystem for better optimization of internal functions and nutrient distribution.

For aspiring gamers in this growing industry who are looking to get all the help they can get, Mannatech provides a product called MannaBOOM Slimsticks. These sticks are all-natural and are infused with a blend of nutrients designed to give you a competitive advantage during your games. When consumed, gamers will notice an increased focus, an ability to think more clearly and rationally, and an overall sense of well-being.

If you or someone you love is an avid gamer that needs to take their skills to the next level, Mannatech has the solution you need. Their scientific approach and attention to detail have been put to the test and has shown great performance in boosting cognitive ability and overall function. Never again will you get killed or lose a match due to biological issues like brain fog or being distracted during a critical moment during the match.