a loving rant from Gary Northgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Subject: Will Medicines Run Out? Link: http://www.y2kmed.com/index2.html Comment: The supply lines for pharmaceuticals are as tight as any other just-in-time production system. At some point, there will be more demand than supply. At present, most items seem to be available. But for people who are dependent on items that must be replaced soon after manufacture, the threat of y2k is very great.
That is why it's impossible for everyone to get through y2k alive. Shortages in key areas will lead to deaths. We cannot do anything about this. This is why it is important for people to begin to stockpile crucial items in their lives. While this is not always possible, some risks can be reduced.
I do not know how long you will be able to buy medicines easily. You may need a prescription. Your physician may have to cooperate. The longer you wait, the more at risk you become.
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Pharmacies depend on daily restocking to maintain their supplies. Hospitals and doctors' offices are equally vulnerable.
Because of this, experts say critical supplies of medications may run out when Y2K strikes. In fact- any major crisis can pose this problem. . . .
Here's the fact: without antibiotics and other critical medications - WHEN NEEDED - we are vulnerable to exactly the same terrible illnesses and maladies that used to kill the pioneers.
If municipal sanitation systems or refrigeration of food supplies go out, as may happen during a disaster or Y2K - widespread infections of cholera, E-coli, salmonella, giardia and other deadly bacteria can result. In such situations available supplies of prescription medications can quickly run out, leaving most people without proper medical treatment.
If manufacturing or distribution is disrupted, as may happen during a disaster or Y2K, drug store and hospital supplies of critical medications may quickly run out, leaving most people without access to medication. . . .
-- polyannasmakegoodeatin (o.j.@PREPAIRED.COM), April 24, 1999
Stock up on drugs for Y2K bug? Relax, druggists say
By LEE BOWMAN Scripps Howard News Service
If the Y2K bug bites, will there be enough medicine to go around?
Patients, pharmacists, drug makers and everyone in between are pondering whether stockpiling prescription medicines ahead of possible computer breakdowns come Jan. 1, 2000, is prudent. And they worry that significant hoarding will create shortages even before the computers are put to the test.
In Waterloo, Iowa, pharmacist Bob Greenwood said the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve is always one of the busiest times of the year for druggists anyway because many patients who have met their insurance deductibles seek to stock up on medications that will cost them less out of pocket.
``I'm discouraging customers from trying to get ahead too much because I think we'll have enough to go around,'' Greenwood said. ``I usually keep a one-month supply, although with generics, I'm able to stock up to six months of many drugs.''
Still, Greenwood is wary that shortages might affect some of his critically ill patients, so he's planning to have extra supplies of a few critical drugs. ``I've got five transplant patients, and I'll probably order an extra month's worth of anti-rejection agents for them, for instance.''
Pharmacists are among the most intensive users of computers in the health care industry, with an estimated 99 percent of all prescriptions dispensed using at least one computer system.
``In any given pharmacy, there may be different systems to track sales and inventory and maintain patient profiles, check for drug interactions, track prescription refills and maintain patient records, as well as file claims for insurance coverage,'' said Richard Carbray, a spokesman for the American Pharmaceutical Association, in testimony before a Senate special committee on Year 2000 problems.
Officially, the drug industry says it is, or will be, fully operational when computer calendars flip to ``00.'' ``We anticipate no interruption in the supply of medicines due to Y2K problems at our member companies,'' said Alan Holmer, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
He added that meeting the challenge also depends on ``other links in the supply chain.'' The industry is spending more than $2 billion to correct software flaws in computers and other equipment.
But Holmer added that ``hoarding and stockpiling by patients could create a greater threat to the supply of medicines than any computer glitch.''
In Leesburg, Va., pharmacist Steve Roberts has aggressive Y2K plans in the works, testing and upgrading equipment, with a backup plan to keep serving customers in the unlikely event of a system collapse.
He worries about the effects of stockpiling, but said that ``for me to feel safe about things, and realistically what we can afford to stock up on, is an additional one-month supply of medications. We'll review the drugs by class, and stock up on what people can't live without - things like antibiotics, insulin, cardiac drugs and asthma inhalers. If the problems last longer than a month, it's going to be chaos.''
Affordability is key. For many people with a chronic illness, drugs are a big part of the budget every month, even if part of the cost is covered by insurance. And most insurance plans, including Medicare, won't pay for more than a month's supply at a time.
Joel Ackerman, executive director of RX2000 Solutions Institute in Edina, Minn., which is helping health care organizations correct Y2K problems, urged the Senate committee to support legislation that would permit ``a one-time exclusion for Medicare or health plans allowing patients to receive a 90-day supply of medications instead of a 30 day supply at the end of 1999.''
But the proposal has drawn little enthusiasm from insurers or the drug industry, which fear such a step would only exacerbate shortages. The alternative, Ackerman said, is possible rationing of some drugs. In that case, he said, ``some stockpiling is prudent.''
No one has a magic number for how much to have on hand, although the International Association of Emergency Managers recommends 30 days' worth of medications along with a seven-day stock of food and water.
-- Y2K Pro (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 24, 1999.
How many diabetics are there in the USA. What happens if they can't get their insulin. Great move Y2KPro, Just keep moving people down the garden path. Whats your moto,---No Need to Prepare. Tell me just how many diabetics are in the USA.
-- thinkIcan (thinkIcan@make.it), April 24, 1999.
I can't wait....I can NEVER even get a full months supply of my childs meds at our local drugstore cause they never even manage to keep that much in stock- even though we buy the same meds there every month....duh. I always have to return to get the remainder that they "owe me". Talk about tight inventory. Obviously, this just ain't going to work come a y2k crunch... gotta find anothr drugstore.....
-- anita (email@example.com), April 24, 1999.
I plan on doing most of my bartering with polyanna's.Strictly high profit,high gougeable items,t.p.,cough syrup(generic),anti diahreah (worth their weight in dark matter if the sh*t comes down)fever breakers,and of course TAMPONS!!!!a great deal of G.I.'s talk about their preparations without ever mentioning tampons,and there is a huge dependancy of just in time tampons.My wife has purchased several of the washable,reusable menstrual cup,"the keeper"they were 35 bucks.If possible problems run longterm,these will be essential,there's more about them on the y2k women site,one of the best prep sites.zoob.
-- zoobie (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 25, 1999.
"Strictly high profit,high gougeable items"
Very good, Zoob, I see that you have high ambitions in life: you want to become a profiteer.
You may be the one of the first lined up against a wall and shot under martial law and the NWO.
-- --- (email@example.com), April 25, 1999.
And while we're at it, from Yahoo Y2K news, dated today... <:)=
Y2K Failures Abroad Could Hit U.S. Drug, Oil Firms
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. oil and drug companies could face major problems from potential year 2000 failures outside the United States, the U.S. government said Friday.
Developing nations are most at risk from Y2K problems and U.S. firms that trade with them could feel the affect of possible failures by the first weeks of 2000, White House Year 2000 coordinator John Koskinen said.
``We import significant raw materials in the pharmaceutical industry, we obviously import a lot of oil,'' Koskinen said in a telephone interview from Washington.
``If we have any significant interruption in that flow, either because the production facilities are challenged, don't work or the port facilities or the tankers, over time that will create a major problem for us,'' he said.
Y2K failures outside the United States would not hurt the U.S. economy overall, but they would affect firms reliant on specific countries, the chairman of President Clinton's Council on year 2000 Conversion said.
In a report released Wednesday, Koskinen said the greatest potential for year 2000 computer problems lies outside the United States. He said the U.S. government would start to identify problem states and countries by name as the year progressed.
The year 2000 Computer problem, known as Y2K for short, arises because many older computers and software allocated only two digits for the whole year in the date.
Unless computers are repaired or replaced, the year 2000 may be read as 1900, causing machines to crash or put out bad data.
Electric power, telecommunications, and transportation systems have been identified as Y2K trouble spots in developing nations. U.S. firms might run into trouble in cases where products come from one or two countries and substitute markets are unavailable.
In some cases, foreign systems are not expected to stop but slow down, as Y2K glitches force a switch to manual and paper based operations.
Koskinen said he did not expect significant problems from major trading partners in the developed world.
-- Sysman (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 25, 1999.
My father is a diabetic. Although not y2k GITs, my parents are always well-stocked for earthquakes. I have expressed my concern to him on insulin supplies and he has stated that he will consider getting extra. I have also talked to him about getting a little battery powered refrigerator for his insulin. There are several models - even one used by veterinarians - that can be operated off a car battery recharged with a solar panel.
On the other issue, iIn my work, I have a need to anticipate future trends and prepare others. I have always operated upon the credo that "the farther away it is, the easier it is to deflect an asteroid from a collision course." I have given "early warning" on many trends that affect the people I represent. It has given them the time to "respond," rather than just to "react." This has allowed them more control over their own destiny and time to be flexible and to phase in changes. Personally, I am appreciative of the time I have been given to prepare for such a possible collision of y2k with my daily lifestyle.
We live in a competitive world. I have STRONG protective instincts as a parent. I am not going to risk the non-availability of items that will enable my family to survive the risks I see with relative safety and comfort. It is against everything I have learned in the past 50 years. The "community" has never "rushed to my aid" when I faltered. As an adult, (a single-parent female, mind you) I have been raised with the expectations that I will take care of others, if I am capable. I do so first in my family then in the community as I deem that I am capable. To tell me that I should consider the needs of the "community" first and I should restrain my personal preparations that I deem necessary for the welfare of my family, is against my grain.
Sorry, but I take personal responsibility for myself and my family. The "community" is, frankly, secondary and, in my experience, can't be counted on to supply our needs. I have no trouble sleeping at night knowing that we are well-stocked to respond to the potential changes ahead and, therefore, capable of helping others who aren't.
When you fly on a plane, the stewardess tells you that in the case of an emergency, "put your own oxygen mask on first." Only then you will be able to help those who don't know how or are having trouble.
-- awake (email@example.com), April 25, 1999.