Research Posts

Who’s to blame for drug shortages

When someone tries to do good, it seems like someone else will find a way to downgrade it, or simply find blame where none resides. The Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) fight to keep drug shortages diminished – however, those in the medical device community, particularly Phil Zweig, Executive Director of Physicians Against Drug Shortages (PADS), wants the GPOs to take full responsibility for the deficiency.

As for the PADS, this group has no background or understanding of the supply chain management.

Mr. Zweig has taken it upon himself to run down the respectable name of the GPO, going so far as to hold this organization blameworthy for the acceleration of the AIDS virus, not to mention the untimely demise of two U.S. attorneys. Besides this, he included two sitting U.S. Senators as conspirators in concealing extensive corruption.

According to the HSCA, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, academia, and virtually all of America’s 7,700 hospitals conducted a thorough investigation of GPO cost savings, administrative structure, and business practices.

The HSCA goes on to mention that such organizations as the FDA, HHS, GAO, and others have discovered through investigation that the issue of drug shortages falls into the hands of the drug manufacturers who had manufacturing problems, quality control issues, and barriers to getting new suppliers online.

For some reason, it appears that Mr. Zweig not only wants academia to discover negative conclusions about the GPO but also wants academia to suffer disciplinary action by their universities.

Even though the GPO has gained naysayers, this organization is working cooperatively with hospitals, manufacturers, distributors, and others to make hospitals and their patients feel secure in receiving vital and necessary drugs.

Health in the work place

Health in the work place

Illness spreads quickly in the workplace. Shared surfaces, high foot traffic and a closed environment can create a reservoir for germs. If a workplace is not thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis, certain viruses and bacteria may be present. Some businesses take a proactive approach to health in the workplace by encouraging healthy practices among employees and by making physical changes to the work environment.

Some places in the workplace house more germs than others. While most people assume that the bathroom is the dirtiest place in the office, kitchens and break rooms can be just as bad, if not worse. Sink faucet handles, refrigerator doors and vending machine buttons can all host high amounts of bacteria and viruses. These are spots that are often neglected during office cleaning. Germs can also accumulate on keyboards and desks. In industrial workplaces, greater square footage gives germs more surfaces to occupy, but the dirtiest places are typically the handles and buttons of frequently used machinery.

Certain bacteria and viruses are more commonly found in the workplace than others. The virus that causes rhinopharyngitis, also known as the common cold, is often found on surfaces in the workplace, especially during the winter months. The same can be said for the norovirus, often known as the flu or the “winter vomiting bug.” With respect to bacteria, Escherichia coli (E. Coli) – which can be found in human fecal matter – is typically present on certain bathroom surfaces. Less commonly found are bacteria like methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is particularly dangerous because it is resistant to antibiotics.

Some businesses are more proactive than others when it comes to health in the workplace. One preventative measure that can be seen in more and more offices is the increased presence of hand sanitizer. Dispensers are placed around the workplace, making it easy for employees to quickly wash their hands. Similarly, the placement of trash cans encourages employees to throw dirty items away instead of leaving said items on their desk or around the office. Many businesses also have a daily morning and evening cleaning of the entire workplace. This goes a long way to prevent the buildup of bacteria and viruses. Finally, some businesses respond quickly to instances of illness, sending sick employees home before they can infect others.

Of course, the most effective way to keep the workplace healthy is to promote good hygiene habits among the employees. One way that businesses do this is by posting signs around the workplace reminding workers of best hygiene practices, such as keeping desks clean, washing hands frequently and cleaning up after having a meal. Occasional informational sessions on the subject of hygiene can provide additional reminders. Encouraging employees to say home if they are feeling ill is perhaps the most effective way to keep harmful germs from entering the office in the first place.

In the coming years, businesses will need to be more proactive when it comes to health in the workplace. Some bacterial infections have already become resistant to antibiotics and this trend is likely to continue. As bacteria and viruses continue to evolve, outbreaks of illness in the workplace will be increasingly destructive.

Business Offices and Health

Business Offices and Health

These days, business offices are becoming more and more focused on the health of their employees. Not only do healthy workers have better attendance, but they are more productive as well. By eliminating unhealthy risks and concentrating on promoting good health, business offices are creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Keeping Workers Healthy
There are a number of ways that business offices are promoting better health for their employees:

  • Encouraging Good Hygiene:Business offices that encourage simple things like hand washing, clean clothing, and other good hygiene practices are seeing much healthier employees. Since bathrooms are often the biggest culprit of viruses and germs, placing signs near doorways that remind employees to wash up before returning to work has become a very common practice.
  • Providing Fitness Opportunities: Many business offices are providing workers with onsite fitness facilities or memberships to the local gym in order to promote better health and fitness.
  • Providing Access to Health Professionals: A number of business offices are discovering that by encouraging workers to seek professional help when illnesses and other health issues arise, they are nipping health problems in the bud, resulting in healthier workers overall
  • Allowing More Sick Leave: By allowing workers to take off from work when they are ill, employers are not only enabling their employees to heal, but they are preventing other employees from becoming exposed to viruses as well.
  • Promoting Wellness Programs: Wellness programs are becoming more and more popular in business offices. Wellness programs encourage testing and the proper treatment of ailments so that employees can remain working or return to work much more quickly.

Areas of Exposure
While business offices are focusing on maintaining a healthier workforce, it is important for employees to consider the risks that they may encounter as well. In general, people tend to be exposed to health risks in:

  • Bathrooms: Most workplace viruses are transmitted from bathrooms in one way or another. Whether a worker comes in contact with germs and viruses while using the toilet, simply touching the doorknob, or shaking hands with someone who did not properly wash their hands after exposure, bathrooms are germ carrying villains.
  • Enclosed Areas: Areas that are used to host large numbers of people aren’t just hosts to the invited guests. Enclosed areas like meeting rooms tend to harbor a variety of germs as well.
  • Locations where workers are Exposed to Needles and Bodily Fluids: Even if worker are not continuously exposed to needles used for medications and blood draws, the risk remains. Simply coming into contact with a device that has been contaminated can be a costly encounter.

What Might You be Getting Exposed to?

  • Influenza:
  • Common Colds:
  • Hepatitus:
  • Tuburculosis:

In situations where employees health is at risk, prevention is certainly the key. Employers are concentrating their efforts on such things as:

  • Educating Employees: Teaching workers to help themselves stay healthy is well worth the time and investment.
  • Encouraging Treatment: Encouraging workers to seek help can prevent more serious illnesses later.
  • Promoting Testing: Enabling workers to have easy access to testing facilities and supplies can greatly reduce the risk of major health issues in the long term.