WASHINGTON: A new initiative could change the manner in which healthcare organizations involved in the manufacturing and distribution of pharmaceutical products communicate with one another in the wake of a major public health emergency.
The partnership – which includes the American Hospital Association, American Red Cross, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), among others – began to take shape early, culminating this month with the announcement of Rx Response.
The communications effort takes two forms, one to coordinate communications between partners during a disaster, and another to coordinate education outreach to the general public on how to prepare for a disaster. While the new program is coordinated closely with the government, it is strictly a private sector effort.
"During Katrina, the system [of getting pharmaceuticals to the needy] worked, but it was amazing it actually did," said M.J. Fingland, senior director of public affairs and communications for PhRMA. “It needed more coordination to work. There needed to be one information point that everyone could go to during a disaster.”
Rx Response will, in effect, support information sharing among partners, community volunteer relief organizations and authorities. The system will spring into action when existing relief plans are disrupted or in the case of a governor or the president declaring a disaster.
While the private Web site will allow the partners to coordinate their response, the consumer site (www.RxResponse.org) will help to educate the public on necessary steps to be prepared, says Mark Grayson, deputy VP for public affairs and communications at PhRMA. The site allows consumers to print a wallet card on which to include a list of medications and other relevant information in case of emergency.
Fleishman-Hillard handled communications strategy, including national media outreach and messaging, for PhRMA. The Brylski Company and Moore Consulting Group handled local outreach in New Orleans and Miami respectively while the Adfero Group worked on the Web site.