An Indianapolis company called BioSentinel Solutions has received a US patent on its technology that monitors the sales of over the counter medicines as an early indicator of a developing pandemic or bioterrorism event.
Surprisingly, a key early warning sensor for biologically- related illnesses may be the human body itself and Americans self-medicating with over the counter (OTC) treatments for “cold and flu” symptoms…
Current public health monitoring efforts focus largely on analyzing admissions activity at local Emergency Rooms and doctor offices. 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 fill this important role while fully addressing and alleviating their concerns about the disclosure of otherwise sensitive product sales data and the potential overhead burden of program support.