Memphis-area businesses sign on to MCM distribution plans

Public health officials in Shelby County, Tennessee, recently set up memorandums of understanding with large local businesses to provide them with medical countermeasures in case of emergency.

Shelby County is in the process of adopting a response plan for biological attacks or the emergence of a pandemic based on the same plans recommended by the U.S. Postal Service. The Shelby County plan, however, includes a role for the business community, according to

Shelby County Health Department Risk Communications Supervisor Kasia Smith-Alexander said that approximately 20 local businesses, all with 500 employees or more, are included in the plan.

"The agreement says this is what the health department would provide and this is what we would expect in return," Smith-Alexander said, reports.

The health department has offered to provide a supply of countermeasures to each business. In exchange, the business will distribute them to their employees and their families, which decreases the potential strain on medicine delivery teams and distribution sites.

"This increases the amount of people we can ensure get the medication. Multiply that by two or three times per employee and that's fifty to sixty thousand people who won't have to visit our sites because they are being take of care by their employers," Smith-Alexander said, according to

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given the plan its full support and similar plans have been adopted by other metropolitan health agencies.