When Hurricane Katrina hit, the lack of communication between public health officials and the private sector, which controls most of the biopharmaceutical supply chain system slowed. This gap hindered efforts to deliver medications to patients in need. From the disaster, which marked its ten year anniversary in August, PhRMA, BIO, partners in the biopharmaceutical industry and the non-profit sector spearheaded the creation of Rx Response to streamline communication and tackle medicine delivery problems without delay or unnecessary phone chains.
After nine years of coordinating the biopharmaceutical supply chain in disaster areas, Rx Response transitioned to its new name—Healthcare Ready—and has expanded its focus to working with stakeholders in communities, the government and the private sector to strengthen the entire health care system. Healthcare Ready is working to develop communication and logistical plans before disasters occur. Healthcare Ready is also leading the charge to create a solution that works across sectors and throughout the country to help get people back to work and get patients access to the medicines and the health care system at the times they’d need it most.
Coming together in times of crisis isn’t new for the biopharmaceutical community. During the Ebola outbreak last fall, member companies Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline, along with other patient organizations, joined the Conversation forum to discuss how we can best respond to infectious diseases. In the immediate response to the outbreak, our members accelerated testing and deployment of vaccines to stop the disease in its tracts and protect the thousands in danger of contracting the virus. PhRMA also worked with other industry trade associations (EFPIA, BIO, and IFPMA) to connect members with research programs at U.S. government agencies to help them to more quickly identify compounds that could be screened as potential future candidates for the treatment of Ebola. It is direct and immediate actions like these that can make all the difference for patients and their families.
In addition to the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, this month marks National Preparedness Month, a time to look to the future on how we can be better prepared. This week’s Conversations brings together stakeholders in the health care community to identify how we can better prepare for the next disaster.
Take a look at the Conversations here. We would love to hear what you think about this topic so be sure to contribute your thoughts on disaster preparedness in the comments section and share with friends who may be interested.
John Castellani John J. Castellani is past President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). He is a passionate advocate for a strong, innovative and growing American biopharmaceutical research industry that plays a critical role in helping to improve the health of every American and patients the world-over. Mr. Castellani is also the former President and CEO of Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. corporations with a combined workforce of nearly 12 million employees and $6 trillion in annual revenues.