Thursday, August 18, 2011

Higher Quality at Lower Prices -- An Agreement for Generic Medicines that Must be Passed

Many of the greatest successes of the field of Operations Research have resulted in policy implementations and the alteration of the status quo, sometimes even through regulations supported by quantifiably convincing mathematical models and data.

In terms of healthcare, the leading work of our colleague, Professor Ed Kaplan at the Yale School of Management, in needle exchange programs to reduce AIDS, immediately comes to mind.

When it comes to healthcare, some of the major issues that we are faced with in our country today are twofold: high costs and (low) quality, with an associated component being questionable availability whether of healthcare providers or even medicines or service, in general.

Healthcare is so important that the only way in which we may be able to guarantee change is through legislation. During times such as these, when our medical nuclear supply chains have exhibited shortages of critical diagnostic radioisotopes, and when cancer drugs cannot be obtained by patients who need them for their survival, we are clearly in a medical crisis.

We wrote the OpEd piece: Viewpoint: Passage of American Medical Isotope Production Act of 2011 will help ensure U.S. nuclear medicine supply chain, and today's editorial in The New York Times: A Deal to Get Cheaper and Safer Drugs argues that lawmakers must quickly approve legislation that would ensure fees from generic drug manufacturers that would enable regular inspections of out of country manufacturing plants to ensure safety, and let's not forget about availability, as I have written about passionately on this blog.

The understanding of our complex global healthcare supply chains, and associated policy making, must be based on rigorous mathematical modeling and analysis that capture the network economics aspects as well as multicriteria decision-making to ensure quality but at reasonable cost. Operations researchers, with their multidisciplinary training, as well as mindsets, and collaborative networks, are leading the way.

It is imperative, however, that we, as researchers, educators and members of professional societies, get the news out about research that can make a difference.

Some of our relevant research on multitiered, multicriteria supply chain networks:

Supply Chain Outsourcing Under Exchange Rate Risk and Competition
Zugang Liu and Anna Nagurney, Omega 39: (2011) pp 539-549.

Global Supply Chain Network Dynamics with Multicriteria Decision-Making Under Risk and Uncertainty
Anna Nagurney and Dmytro Matsypura, Transportation Research E 41: (2005) pp 585-612.

Multitiered Supply Chain Networks: Multicriteria Decision–Making under Uncertainty
June Dong, Ding Zhang, Hong Yan, and
Anna Nagurney, Annals of Operations Research 135: (2005) pp 155-178.

Some of our research on healthcare supply chains, specifically:

Medical Nuclear Supply Chain Design: A Tractable Network Model and Computational Approach
Anna Nagurney and Ladimer S. Nagurney (2011)

Multiproduct Humanitarian Healthcare Supply Chains: A Network Modeling and Computational Framework
Anna Nagurney, Min Yu, and Qiang Qiang (2011)

Supply Chain Network Operations Management of a Blood Banking System with Cost and Risk Minimization
Anna Nagurney, Amir H. Masoumi, and Min Yu, Computational Management Science: (2011), in press

Supply Chain Network Design of a Sustainable Blood Banking System
Anna Nagurney and Amir H. Masoumi, in Sustainable Supply Chains: Models, Methods and Public Policy Implications, T. Boone, V. Jayaraman, and R. Ganeshan, Editors, Springer, London, England, 2011, in press.