Rx Response: Making a Difference in a Crisis

Rx Response: Making a Difference in a Crisis

03.24.11 | By

Angie Drakulich over at PharmTech had a nice blog post yesterday where, among other things, she mentioned the great work the Rx Response coalition has done in helping U.S. government response to the crisis in Japan.

Rx Response, which brings together all of the key players in the medicine supply chain, was put together after Hurricane Katrina. The coalition includes medicine makers - both brand and generic - pharmacies, pharmacists, hospitals, distributors and health care providers. The coalition has evolved into one that can provide crisis managers with critical, real time information about both the state of the medicine supply chain and its recovery and also when and if important facilities, like pharmacies, are open in a crisis zone.

The last point -open pharmacies - is one of those key points in a crisis and the aftermaths that laymen like me don't often think about. But when you do, it seems obvious. First, information is critical to crisis managers. To do their job, they need to know where breakdowns may be occurring in essential supplies, like medicines, or if plants producing needed medicines are up and running and, if not, when they might be again. Rx Response coordinates and provides that information.

Second, knowing where open pharmacies are, or if they're open, is a key piece of information that crisis managers can use in two ways. First, it helps them to direct patients in emergency zones to where they can go to get needed medicines. Needless to say, in an emergency, many people evacuate or head to shelters without their prescriptions or their medicines.

Third, when you think about it, an open pharmacy can tell crisis managers a lot about what is happening on the ground as well as be one of the first signs that a crisis has abated and an emergency zone is on its first steps to recovery.

At PhRMA, we are all proud of the contribution that Rx Response's unique pharmacy reporting tool is making to crisis management. And, as important as Rx Responses contribution to crisis management in the U.S. has been, it is gratifying to see that the lessons Rx Response has learned about what kinds of information crisis managers need and can use, can help crisis response in places like Japan.

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