News | October 5, 1998

New Group Calls for Controls on Group Purchasing Organizations

Several medical device manufacturers, patient rights advocates, and consumer groups have formed a new working group dedicated to tightening controls on Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs). Named "For Patients' Sake," the group is calling for congressional hearings, a General Accounting Office study, and an antitrust investigation by the Department of Justice.

According to the group, the two largest GPOs control the purchasing decisions of two-thirds of acute care hospitals alone, and maintain restrictive high-compliance contracts with healthcare facilities throughout the country. Although GPOs provide their customers bulk purchasing discounts, they also limit access to medical equipment sold outside the contract.

Manufacturer members of For Patients' Sake include GSC, Xodus Medical, Greiner Meditech, Dexide, and Retractable Technologies. The working group also includes the Center for Patient Advocacy and medical equipment distributors the Claflin Company and United Medical Supply.