When disaster strikes, medical care and medicines are urgently needed; yet disaster events can also impact patient access to the medicines they need. In 2006, PhRMA took a leading role in setting up Healthcare Ready (formerly Rx Response), a program dedicated to protecting patients’ continued access to medicines during times of crisis. Eleven successful years later, Healthcare Ready is an independent emergency response and relief organization that has helped ensure patients’ access to medicines during more than 55 different disasters.
Healthcare Ready focuses not only on better coordination of the broader health care system and the public sector during natural disasters, terrorist attacks and disease pandemics, but also on educating officials, businesses and the public on building resiliency into daily activities so we are all stronger and communities are better protected.
Federal and state officials can communicate directly with the biopharmaceutical supply chain through a single point of contact, making Healthcare Ready a vitally important homeland security asset. The organization is recognized as a model for how private industry can collaborate to be better prepared for disaster and better able to respond.
For example, in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy slammed the northeastern coast of the United States, Healthcare Ready kept emergency responders informed on the status of the biopharmaceutical supply chain. Healthcare Ready’s Rx Open tool was deployed in 11 states and the District of Columbia, helping victims and evacuees who needed to fill or re-fill their prescriptions find open pharmacies. Healthcare Ready also helped emergency responders with critical information on the challenges facing supply chain partners relating to electricity, fuel and transportation issues. Additionally, PhRMA and its member companies matched employee donations toward relief efforts.
Healthcare Ready tools to communicate critical information with the general public include:
- Rx Open.org: a Website where those in disaster affected areas can determine the closest open pharmacy
- Rx on the Run: a resource to create a personalized document of prescriptions and other important medical information
- A list of resources that help individuals prepare for and recover from emergencies.
Learn more about Healthcare Ready here.