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Press Release

Federal Government, Pharmacy Organizations Team Up For Disaster Response

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and six pharmacy organizations joined forces last week to recruit and train pharmacists to participate in national emergency preparedness efforts. 

The DHS and representatives of the Working Group of the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners (JCPP) last week signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) during the opening session of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ (ASHP) 38th Midyear Clinical Meeting in New Orleans.

The MOA signed on December 8 by Eric Tolbert, Director of the Response Division, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), defines how the DHS and the working group of the JCPP will collaborate to develop and implement pharmacist response units for disaster relief efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS).

The pharmacy organizations will assist in establishing ten National Pharmacist Response Teams (NPRTs) composed of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy students who will respond to national public health emergencies.  The NPRTs will be responsible for providing patient evaluation, patient teaching, medication counseling, dispensing, distribution, and immunizations.

“[This] agreement marks a very exciting time in the emergency medical field ,” said Tolbert.  “[It] brings one additional resource to the table to serve our country during times of need.”

The pharmacy organizations include ASHP (, the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (, the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (, the American Pharmacists Association (, and the National Council of State Pharmacy Association Executives (

Photos of the signing ceremony and copies of the full-text of the MOA may be obtained from ASHP’s Public Relations Division by calling 301-657-3000, ext. 1457 or via e-mail at

ASHP is the 32,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, ambulatory care clinics, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines.  Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective.  The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their professional practice, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs.  For more information, visit ASHP’s Web site, or