01 Aug Tampa General Hospital doctor finds personal connection in creating a new incubator in Hyde Park – Tampa Bay Business Journal
In the packed Tampa General Hospital, Dr. Devanand Mangar, the chief of anesthesiology, can be seen doing research at his desk and speaking with patients, and one of the biggest concerns on his mind when it comes to prescribing medicine is opioid abuse.
That’s why he is partnering with South Florida Accelerator LLC, an innovation aggregator and early stage venture fund, and Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc. in creating a think tank aimed at preventing opioid abuse called The Center for Analgesic Transformation.
Mangar is also the president and CEO of Tampa Outpatient Surgical Facility and North Tampa Outpatient Surgical facility. Mangar has seen his fair share of people who can easily access opioids and become addicted, and the epidemic is something that sticks in his mind even away from the office in his home life.
“My daughter got burned from an accident … second-degree burns,” Mangar said, explaining that the burns were in various places throughout her body and it was a result of an accident that took place on the Fourth of July.
“I had such a hard time convincing doctors to give her what she needed,” he said. “There’s all kinds of stuff as a dad you worry about it.” He explained how there needs to be what he calls a “happy medium” between prescribing too much and too strong of a drug in comparison to prescribing a drug that may be too weak.
In a one-on-one interview, Mangar details the plans of the new center that just opened in Hyde Park and the possibilities for its future:
How did the idea for the incubator form? Introduction from my attorney Craig Huffman to Christopher Malter and Thomas Buchar and we talked about the interest of getting an incubator and co-working facility set up. I’m an anesthesiologist, so I will focus more on narcotics abuse and how we get to a point of minimizing the use of narcotics after surgery, because the bigger issue of what’s going on in the surgical world is people come and have surgery and prescriptions are given and the leftover medicine gets stored in the cabinet and people get access to it. The government created a mandate that we need to be more cognitive in what we prescribe in acute and chronic phases of pain control.
What type of companies do you see the incubator attracting? The biggest companies Thomas has been able to network with are companies that provide medications that help with pain control. Pacira has Exparel, the long acting non-opioid that can be slowly transitioned to a less potent drug. The other companies that may have a huge interest in this are the BUCAs — Blue Cross, United, Cigna and Aetnas of the world — because they are the fallback that will have to pay for the addiction of people who are coming out of surgeries and the hospitals taking pain pills.
How did we get to this point of having an opioid epidemic? One of the issues that transpired to where we are at, around 15 years ago, a joint commission and governing bodies were pushing doctors to make pain the sixth vital sign. What transpired from that is people started to be very liberal in giving out narcotics and prescription drugs because they want people to stop hurting, but in a way it backfired on us because now we have to go to the opposite side and restrict what’s being prescribed.
What are the possibilities for the incubator? This is surreal and tall-tailed because what will come out of this is we will have a forum to educate health care providers what steps to take and maybe a certification process. We just need to be able to communicate how to use these drugs in a good way and not deprive them but to not abuse them. Sooner or later we will get to a happy medium. The Board of Medicine is making us take a two-hour continuing education class to make sure when you know what and how much to prescribe.
Will this disrupt pharmaceutical companies? Absolutely. They probably aren’t happy. We need to get to a point where it’s a win-win. The pharmaceutical companies can become part of the solution though and not part of the problem.
Can you tell me more about the co-working space the incubator is looking at? We have the place on Albany, which use to be my old offices spaces, but I also have an old warehouse by Bern’s Steak House. I own an acre of land and there are plans to put a building there eventually in the foreseeable future.