Report calls for examination of anthrax antibiotic storage

According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, public health officials should examine where and how the antibiotics for anthrax should be stored in their communities in the event of a large-scale anthrax attack.
The report was funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and recommended research to provide stronger evidence for where to best pre-position supplies, CNN reports.
"Under particular circumstances, pre-positioning strategies can reduce the time within which individuals in a community can receive prophylactic antibiotics, and certain strategies can help alleviate the burden on the public health dispensing system," the report said, according to CNN. "Rapid access to antibiotics can prevent people who are exposed to aerosolized Bacillus anthracis from developing anthrax; once symptoms of anthrax emerge, the disease progresses rapidly and can prove fatal."
The committee suggested that though pre-positioning provides less flexibility to change plans following an attack, it may be more effective than relying heavily on post-attack delivery from state stockpiles or the Centers for Disease Control.
The report acknowledged that as antibiotics are pre-positioned closer to intended users, costs are likely to increase. It also acknowledged that communities have different capabilities, needs and priorities and that strategies employed by officials should be altered to what works the best for each area "considering the benefits, costs and trade-offs involved in developing alternative pre-positioning strategies appropriate to their particular communities," according to CNN.
The report said that more research is needed to more effectively understand the anthrax incubation period and it raised concerns about pre-dispensing medicine and the potential misuse and cost of stockpiling antibiotics at home.