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Community storage of anthrax-preventing antibiotics should be determined by state
Date:9/30/2011

ion (PODs) located throughout a region. The goal is to get antibiotics to all individuals in need within 48 hours of a decision to dispense. To complement these current plans, each jurisdiction should assess the benefits and costs of different strategies for storing antibiotics locally and determine which ones would be most appropriate for their communities, the report concludes.

For areas that are at higher risk for an attack and have limited dispensing capability through the current POD system, the report recommends considering "prepositioning strategies" to keep medicine stockpiled near where people work and live. These strategies may help individuals receive antibiotics more quickly. However, prepositioning strategies will cost more than centralized distribution systems, and once implemented, these plans may be difficult to alter. In areas where the risk of an attack is low and/or dispensing capability is sufficient, existing PODs likely already fulfill the needs of a community and prepositioning strategies may offer little additional value, the report says.

The report also considers predispensing antibiotics, a form of prepositioning in which the intended end-users are given possession of the antibiotics prior to an attack. This could take the form of personal stockpiling where individuals obtain antibiotics pre-event from a standard prescription or emergency MedKits with special packaging that should only be opened in case of an attack. The report discourages predispensing for the general public because it is unlikely to be cost-effective and carries significant risks, including a possible high rate of inappropriate antibiotic use. Examples of inappropriate use include taking the antibiotics to treat an unrelated condition or when it is not needed, such as in response to a false alarm or distant anthrax attack. The report found limited evidence to suggest that a MedKit approved by the FDA would lower that risk. A MedKit would a
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Contact: Jennifer Walsh
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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