Defining Roles for Pharmacy Personnel in Disaster Response and Emergency Preparedness

Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2017 Aug;11(4):496-504. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2016.172. Epub 2017 Jan 30.


Ongoing provision of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies is of key importance during and following a disaster or other emergency event. An effectively coordinated response involving locally available pharmacy personnel-drawing upon the efforts of licensed pharmacists and unlicensed support staff-can help to mitigate harms and alleviate hardship in a community after emergency events. However, pharmacists and their counterparts generally receive limited training in disaster medicine and emergency preparedness as part of their initial qualifications, even in countries with well-developed professional education programs. Pharmacy efforts have also traditionally focused on medical supply activities, more so than on general emergency preparedness. To facilitate future work between pharmacy personnel on an international level, our team undertook an extensive review of the published literature describing pharmacists' experiences in responding to or preparing for both natural and manmade disasters. In addition to identifying key activities that must be performed, we have developed a classification scheme for pharmacy personnel. We believe that this framework will enable pharmacy personnel working in diverse practice settings to identify and undertake essential actions that are necessary to ensure an effective emergency response and will promote better collaboration between pharmacy team members during actual disaster situations. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:496-504).

Keywords: capacity building; disaster planning; emergency preparedness; pharmacy; professional role.

MeSH terms

  • Capacity Building / methods
  • Capacity Building / trends
  • Civil Defense / methods*
  • Disaster Planning / methods*
  • Humans
  • Pharmacy*
  • Professional Role*
  • Program Development / methods
  • Workforce