When times are good, expansion plans, future investments and revenue growth are the focus points in most industries. But during down times, organizations scrutinize spending. The current economic crisis is hitting the health care sector as hard as other industries. The result: shuttered private practices, squeezed hospital operating margins and many non-clinical jobs getting the ax. So what does this mean for health care industry supply chain managers? In an attempt to usher in supply chain efficiencies and shape a healthier bottom line, clinicians, executives and others are now more ready than ever before to listen to their supply chain managers. A panel of industry leaders addressed the topic at the third annual Leadership Summit on Health Care Supply Chain Management hosted recently by the World Health Care Congress.

Regina Herzlinger has been dubbed "the Godmother of Consumer-Driven Health Care," and without question she is a revolutionary in her field. It was Herzlinger who pulled back the curtain to reveal the unraveling of managed care, and who predicted the rise of consumer-driven health care and health care-focused factories. What would this forward-thinker have to say about alternatives to the current single-payer-by-employer health insurance system? Probably not replacing it with a similar single-payer-by-government health insurance system. Herzlinger recently delivered the Second Annual Health Economics and Policy Lecture at the W. P. Carey School.

The future of the pharmaceutical industry lies in its willingness to share scientific information, tailor drugs for individual patient groups and have the courage to walk away from some therapies in order to improve outcomes in other areas, says Eli Lilly and Company chairman of the board Sidney Taurel. Addressing the Economic Club of Phoenix recently, Taurel expressed excitement at the possibilities ahead for new ways of developing medicines that cut costs and more precisely target which patients will benefit.

In the third and final presidential debate on October 15, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain spent some time discussing health care — an issue which, in spite of increasingly dominant concerns about the economy — still seems to matter a great deal to American voters. In Part 3 of a series on health care reform and the election, experts at the W. P. Carey School separate fact from politics in the issues surrounding employer mandates.

About 46 million Americans — 15 percent of the population — do not have health insurance, according to the latest U.S. Census data. Approximately $100 billion would be needed to provide them with coverage. Can we afford it? And where would the money come from? Experts discuss the issues in Part 5 of the Knowledge@W. P. Carey series on health care and the election.