Information technology, general care  

Over-the-counter medicine sales give early warning of pandemics, bioterrorism

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 data.

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.


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