Over-the-counter medicine sales give early warning of pandemics,
25 August 2006
Indianapolis, USA. Self medicating with over-the-counter treatments by
the public trying to treat cold and flu symptoms may be a key early warning
indicator for biologically related illnesses .
Bracken Foster & Associates, LLC has recently been granted a United
States Patent for their retail data biosurveillance solution offered through
BioSentinel Solutions. The company says it may now play a major role in
America's pandemic influenza and bioterrorism preparedness efforts.
Current public health monitoring efforts focus largely on analyzing
admissions activity at local emergency rooms and doctors' surgeries. While
these efforts are important they may not provide adequate early warning.
Research confirms that consumers self-medicate with OTC products long before
seeing a doctor. By the time enough data is accumulated through traditional
means, the pandemic or bioterrorism event may have already taken hold. This
delay means that critical time for detection and intervention is thereby
lost, threatening thousands of lives.
"Trends in OTC product sales provide the very earliest indications of
emerging threats to public health from viral or bacterial pathogens," said
Todd Bracken, CEO BioSentinel Solutions. "OTC retailers, including
pharmacies, grocery stores and mass merchandisers therefore play an
important role in our country's preparedness efforts to combat pandemic
influenza or bioterrorism."
Developed in cooperation with major retail chains, BioSentinel equips
retailers to monitor sales and maintain confidentiality of sensitive sales
A division of Indianapolis-based Bracken Foster & Associates, LLC,
BioSentinel Solutions was formed in the public interest in the wake of
9/11/01 by technology and product development expert Todd Bracken and others
to address the lack of effective bio-event early warning in the event of
pandemic influenza or bio-terrorist attack. Committed to cross-sector
collaboration for inception, BioSentinel Solutions has grown to include a
collaborative mix of not-for-profit organizations, public sector agencies,
several prominent universities, and other private sector companies.