Healthcare Matters Round-Up

Criminal Drug Schemes -- Pharmaceutical Supply Pain -- To help manage the risk of drug approval uncertainty, most large pharmaceutical companies got rid of their non-core fixed primary and secondary manufacturing assets a long time ago. But it didn't stop there. For the pharmaceutical industry, the demand for contract services continued to grow -- almost every core business function could be outsourced -- providing large and small companies alike the opportunity to execute selected business lines in a virtual context. The industry's supply chain seemed transformed overnight.

Your PPACA Cocktail Party Primer... -- The best argument for the PPACA is to listen to those who are against it -- and visa versa (Churchill said something like that about Democracy, didn't he?). If that irony even remotely suits you, then you won't be surprised to know that every Republican-appointed judge has ruled against the constitutionality of PPACA and every Democrat-appointed judge has ruled for it. "Whatever happens to the legislation at the end of the day, the clear level of politicization in the judiciary is getting its day in the sun," wrote Ezra Klein of the Washington Post. Not that it should make any difference, but in case you're interested, our Supreme Court is currently comprised of five justices appointed by Republican presidents (Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito) and four justices from Democratic presidents (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan). Just to add a little more intrigue, Justice Kagan may have to recuse herself from the case.

FDA Staring Down the Barrell at 500MM Users of Mobile Medical Apps by 2015 -- On July 21, 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a draft guidance document "to inform manufacturers, distributors, and other entities about how the FDA intends to apply its regulatory authorities to select software applications intended for use on mobile platforms (mobile applications or 'mobile apps')." Two weeks ago, it held a "Public Workshop on Mobile Medical Applications." The FDA will continue to solicit public comments until October 19, after which time it will make some final rulings. In short, mobile medical applications (apps) will soon be classified; the criteria will be defined and then we'll know which classes will fall under the oversight of the FDA.

EPA Can't Argue With "Potty Logic" -- Asthma patients who rely on over-the-counter (OTC) inhalers will need to switch to prescription-only alternatives as part of the federal government's latest attempt to protect the Earth's ozone layer. The switch to a "greener" inhaler will cost more, but that's not the reason why asthmatics have already started hoarding the soon-to-be-illegal Chloral Floral Carbon-powered (CFC-powered) OTC products. The reason is breathtakingly simple. Asthmatics claim the current generation OTCs work much better than the prescription alternatives.

Interview: Jeffrey Ryan of BravoSolution -- For almost 20 years now, Jeff has been introducing the latest SCM concepts and raising the relative sourcing IQs of seasoned procurement professionals at dozens of Fortune 200 companies -- and now he's doing it in the healthcare industry. Jeff is BravoSolution's most senior authority on collaborative sourcing. He is an expert in the application(s) of optimization to sourcing and how it can be used to drive collaboration -- both internally and externally. He is known to be a bold (if not outspoken) thought leader on SCM matters that advance the use of collaborative techniques. Without a doubt, if you're having a hard time driving consensus around an approach to a sourcing project, Jeff's presence will be felt and he can help you drive order. He will quickly impress you and become someone you want in your professional network.

UPMC and Highmark Battle in Pittsburgh -- TKO Predicted -- As a native of Pittsburgh, I've been looking for a good reason to talk about a battle that's been waging in my hometown for months. And from out of the "Blue," a famous Pittsburgh philanthropist, Henry Hillman (92 years young), has finally given me the reason to do it. Frankly, it's an old fashioned street fight between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), our nation's 5th largest Integrated Delivery Network (IDN), and Highmark Inc., (Highmark) another Pittsburgh-based nonprofit (NPO) that is one of the largest Blue plans in the nation. For perspective, these two companies employ about 12% of their region's workforce and generated more than $23 billion in combined revenues last year. Not bad for a pair of NPOs.

-- Brianna Tonner

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