Rx Response was formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to address a key lesson learned about access to prescription medicine following a major disaster. Government officials need a single point of contact through which they can communicate with the entire bio-pharmaceutical supply chain to address obstacles to the flow of medicine to patients impacted by a disaster.

Following Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in August 2005, companies across the United States – including those that now comprise Rx Response – donated massive amounts of relief supplies including refrigerated insulin, vaccines, antibiotics, antiseptics, non-prescription pain relievers, and wound care products. Other donations included surgical equipment, millions of cans of infant formula, tens of thousands of personal care kits and a wide range of other medicines. Millions in monetary donations were also provided. At the same time, Federal agencies disbursed a massive amount of emergency aid and deployed a wide array of services to help victims. Relief organizations mounted their own historic efforts.

This massive response by private industry, the federal government and relief organizations occurred with little coordination. Deliveries of pharmaceutical supplies were held up at police check points. Hundreds of calls from government officials to random contacts within the bio-pharmaceutical supply system asked many of the same questions and not always of the right people.

Hurricane Katrina underscored a critical need to improve communications between government response officials and the bio-pharmaceutical supply chain.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) set out to address this need, conceiving of Rx Response and reaching out to each trade organization comprising the entire bio-pharmaceutical supply chain to enlist their participation. PhRMA also sought the assistance of the American Red Cross. Today, the entire bio-pharmaceutical supply chain and the American Red Cross work in close coordination to support Rx Response, making the program an indispensible homeland security asset.

This group also comprises the Rx Response Coordinating Body, which is the leadership and decisionmaking group for the program (visit About Rx Response to see a complete list).

To facilitate fast and efficient communications between government officials and members of the supply chain, Rx Response developed InfoCenter, a powerful online information-sharing network that enables all registered members to view and share information, and quickly and efficiently communicate with all relevant parties.