The crises in Japan and Libya this month have drawn attention once again to the outstanding work of many international relief agencies as they work around the clock to deliver needed food, water, supplies, and medicines to civilians. The pharma industry is no exception.
PharmTech’s Stephanie Sutton reported last week on how pharma companies are already on the ground helping to deliver drug products in Japan. And the Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) delivered a statement on March 16 about the work of the Rx Response coalition, which was established to help ensure a steady supply of medicines during US-based disasters such as that caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The coalition (partners include drug and biotechnology manufacturing and distribution industries, hospitals, community pharmacies, and the American Red Cross) is focusing its resources on Japan and is in fact, working directly with the US government to detail information about potential supply chain impacts of Japan’s situation on the global industry, according to the PhRMA announcement.
At the same time, AmeriCares, Doctors without Borders, Islamic Relief and other organizations are working to get crucial medical supplies into Libya’s borders so that medical professionals can help treat civilians there.
It’s truly a testament to these individuals and organizations putting their lives at stake to help others in need. But it is also a testament to the scientists, packaging engineers, and quality assurance professionals who have designed delivery methods and distribution techniques, including those for cold-chain supplies, that enable workers to get crucial drugs in a steady, stable state to hard-to-reach locations. The logistics of managing the supply chain for pharmaceuticals (as well as food and other supplies) in zones of conflict and natural disaster are not often appreciated by the general public. But in many cases, it is these very actions and individuals that help to relieve crisis situations.