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PHS Cites ASHP's Support During Disaster Response

Kate Traynor

In the days that followed last week's tragedies in New York City, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon, Capt. Kevin Dermanoski described to Rear Adm. Richard Walling, Chief Pharmacist Officer for the Public Health Service, a meeting with ASHP officials. Below is the text of Dermanoski's memo.


My scheduled meeting with the ASHP leaders was well-timed this week. As reported, ASHP maintains an extensive Internet and other communication network to reach all hospital pharmacies across the country. In response to our current national disaster and its public health consequences, ASHP voluntarily added additional staff to their communication network, should the PHS or others want to distribute drug information during the crisis. One such message delivered, was the change in Tetanus vaccine distribution.

During the meeting, pharmacist leaders noted the importance of drug information distribution to practitioners during a disaster. In fact, they noted a ''void' of information, could lead to anxiety by those serviced by hospital pharmacies. Therefore, ASHP is updating its Web information daily to assure that a conduit of critical information is in place should the need arise.

ASHP CEO Henri Manasse, asked the assembled group of leaders, to assess their own institution's ability to respond to a national disaster. An elected officer of ASHP reported that his Administration is forcing him to reduce drug inventories to a 24-48 hour supply to avoid costs. Such a situation leaves an institution 'weak' in emergency preparedness to put it mildly.

In summary, ASHP remains available to distribute information should the PHS wish to avail their services. And, when this tragedy is over, ASHP is ready to work with PHS to ensure the Nation's hospital pharmacies are appropriately stocked to protect the public's health, and to assure that a mechanism is in place to distribute pharmacist-specific drug & biological information nationwide in time of need.

Proud to be a PHS pharmacist of service this week.