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.