When it comes to natural disaster preparedness, there is no such thing as being too ready. Safeguarding our loved ones and ensuring a surplus of food and water are on hand—those things quickly come to mind for many when checking off an emergency planning list. But what about medicine? Believe it or not, medication is one of the essentials that is often an afterthought in the planning process.
The Importance of Medication Adherence During Natural Disasters
Medical supplies are often in scarce supply in the event of a public emergency or anticipated storm that could force home evacuations. In 2005, for example, the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita created a demand for certain drugs that resulted in shortage. In anticipation of such events, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration highly advises full medication preparedness, including lists all medications taken, copies of all prescriptions, and at least a week’s supply of each medication.
Medication preparedness—whether on the home front or in hospital settings—is critical to upholding our country’s overall continuum of care. Any disruption during emergency or disaster situations can lead to medication non-adherence, which poses great risk to those with chronic conditions, and can exacerbate other issues, including medication waste, disease progression, lowered quality of life, and increased cost of care.