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Group purchasing organizations don't cause drug shortages [Letter]

Health care group purchasing organizations (GPOs) are taking a variety of innovative steps to mitigate the impact of generic drug shortages. All GPO contracts are voluntary and the product of competitive market negotiations. All hospitals can purchase "off contract" and often do. Contracts can be canceled and pricing regularly adjusted. Manufacturers regularly and quickly adjust pricing of GPO contracts when they experience shocks to production. ("GPOs fuel drug shortages," Feb. 7).

Hospitals use GPOs to aggregate their purchasing power and deliver cost savings. GPOs do not manufacture, compound, sell or take title to these drugs or any drugs in shortage. GPOs work vigorously with hospitals, manufacturers and distributors to help maintain a safe and reliable supply of products for health care providers.

GPOs have nothing to do with generic drug shortages, a fact that drug manufacturers and hospitals acknowledge. The true causes of drug shortages are manufacturing problems, quality issues and barriers to getting new suppliers on line when supply is disrupted. Any attempt to link GPOs to drug shortages is an irresponsible and dangerous distraction.

Curtis Rooney, Bethesda

The writer is president of the Healthcare Supply Chain Association.

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