Virginia Costco holds Strategic National Stockpile dispensing exercise

Pharmacists taking part in a medicine dispensing exercise set up a screening station at a Virginia Costco. | Courtesy of the CDC
A Costco store in Potomac Mills, Virginia partnered with the Prince William Health District this summer to carry out a medicine dispensing exercise designed to simulate a large anthrax attack requiring disbursement of antibiotics from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).
Approximately 200 public volunteers took part in a public point of dispensing (POD) exercise at the store, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The exercise was planned by regional pharmacy staff and training bottles were dispensed. 
“The National Stockpile’s supplies cannot stop significant health problems after a disaster if communities are not resilient, so we work to facilitate relationships, train people and create strong partnerships between public health and the community," Greg Burel, the CDC's director of the SNS division, said. "By including private businesses like Costco in these planning efforts, we are able to reach more people who rely on and trust their community partners.”
The CDC said exercises like this show how private industry and retailers can support local and state health departments should an emergency situation or attack occur. Costco has participated in both closed and public forms of these exercises.
“Costco has a history of serving the community,” Christopher Loving, Costco regional pharmacy supervisor in Virginia, said “This was a great opportunity for us to show our region’s pharmacy managers how this kind of event would work. The POD exercise at Potomac Mills was a huge success.”

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