The impact of a disaster or disease outbreak can reach catastrophic levels if patients and providers do not have access to life-saving medicines. Pandemic disease outbreaks, for example, can spike supply needs by 200 to 300% leading to acute strain on the normal supply chain. Partners along the supply chain have remarkable, innovative answers to the threats that disasters pose to supply chain operations. From hurricanes to disease outbreak to terrorism, all threats pose a risk to public health. When a disaster causes facility damage, transportation issues, power outages and related generator fuel shortages, the pharmaceutical supply chain is threatened. Private companies, nonproﬁts, and the government collaborate in the wake of disasters to protect and stabilize the healthcare supply chain. Their goal is to ensure that healthcare is able to continuously provide patients and providers with the products on which they depend.
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Direct Relief International (DRI) and Pfizer forged a partnership to quickly mobilize resources for meningitis outbreaks. When a local outbreak happens, DRI is allowed to begin quickly moving a vaccine owned by Pfizer to the area. Meningitis outbreaks are common in university settings and this partnership has shown to be immensely valuable in protecting students.
Businesses pledged over $141 million to Hurricane Sandy response and recovery, including:$1 million from Pfizer Foundation
States, cities, and distributors across the country are working together to proactively address this persistent problem in a variety of ways. Healthcare Ready developed a report on this persistent challenge, Access Denied: Delivery of Critical Healthcare Products and Personnel to Disaster Sites.
Ohio developed its Emergency Partner Credentialing System (EPCS) in collaboration with the private sector after learning of the challenges distributors experienced when delivering healthcare supplies during disasters. The EPCS allows companies to pre-register employees in law enforcement databases before an emergency so that law enforcement immediately recognize them and let them in to restricted areas.
CVS recently implemented a program to send mobile alerts to patients before predicted severe weather events reminding them to refill prescriptions. The program has also been used to share public health information related to the Zika virus.