Medicine Makers Pitch in to Help Disaster Victims in Japan

Medicine Makers Pitch in to Help Disaster Victims in Japan

05.26.11 | By

There's a good piece over at Pharma Times On-line reminding us all of the work and giving by biopharmaceutical research companies to help the victims of the tsunami in Japan. The article notes that these critical contributions by medicine-makers are sometimes overlooked, with credit going to organizations and agencies providing direct services.

The article quotes Lori Warrens, executive director of the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD): "The company donating the product or the cash generally does not receive broad recognition for the donation. The general public does not know that emergency donations make up only 10% of what pharma companies donate to health programs every year. Or that pharma has invested millions of dollars to develop their internal processes and networks of trusted NGO partners to ensure the quality and safety of their donations. Companies donate products even though their reputation may suffer if their branded and recognizable product is mishandled on the ground."

In the article, Mark Grayson, PhRMA's Deputy Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs, points out some of the difficulties that pharma sector companies confront when trying to help.

"It's not a matter of just opening the medicine cabinet and throwing whatever drugs and money is available at the crisis," he says. Aid must be specifically requested by a country's health ministry and then channeled through appropriate expert medical and disaster-relief organizations like Red Cross, Save the Children, AmeriCares and the International Medical Corps. This ensures the quality of the medicines donated and that needs on the ground are met.

In short, helping medical and disaster-aid experts on the ground is critical to the aid getting to those who need it most. Pharma sector companies have a long history of working with governments and global aid organizations to help make sure that medicines, supplies and funding get to victims. This is nothing new, as Grayson points out in the article; it "is something industry has always done."

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