Program To Coordinate Delivery Of Medications During Public Health Emergencies

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Several health care industry organizations on Wednesday announced aprogram that will coordinate the delivery of medications during publichealth emergencies, such as Hurricane Katrina, CQ HealthBeat reports.

RxResponsewill provide state and local officials a phone number and Web site tomake their pharmaceutical needs known during emergency situations.Program organizers said RxResponse will serve as a way for the privatesector and government to monitor disasters, identify risks tomedication supplies and be a forum for problem solving, according to CQ HealthBeat. The program will not be a place for patients to go for medications during an emergency, according to organizers.

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Rich Umbdenstock -- president of the American Hospital Association,a sponsor of the program -- said, "In times of crisis, people turn tohospitals to help and heal. In extraordinary situations, we've learnedthat we need a better way to help provide hospital caregivers with thetools they need to do their job. This effort will help do just that."

DuringHurricane Katrina, people were unable to quickly identify medicationneeds, and there was no alternative drug distribution system in place.Billy Tauzin -- president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America,another program sponsor -- said, "During a disaster, it is vital thatsystems are in place to assist with the coordinated delivery ofmedicines to hospitals, health care providers and patients in need."

Other program sponsors include the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Healthcare Distribution Management Association and the American Red Cross, as well as pharmacy groups, HHS, the Department of Homeland Security, and state and local governments (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 8/15).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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