Pharmacists Volunteer to Provide Hurricane Relief

Author: Ken Rankin

The nation's pharmacists responded to the Hurricane Katrina disaster by joining with thousands of other health care professionals to provide volunteer relief services to victims of the storm. National, state, and local pharmacist organizations helped to coordinate the relief effort by directing practitioners to areas across the Gulf Coast in need of pharmaceutical care services.

To facilitate volunteer work by pharmacists, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) established an emergency pharmacist verification process to expedite licensure transfer for out-of-state pharmacists participating in the relief process. In the aftermath of the storm, surrounding states in the affected areas allowed pharmacists to dispense medications to patients in certain zip code areas, if the pharmacists determined the requests to be legitimate, a representative from the NABP said. All told, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that more than 33,000 pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and other professional relief workers had volunteered to provide aid to the affected areas.

Mr. Rankin is a freelance medical writer.