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Drill tests drive-thrus as pandemic medicine distributors
TOOELE, Utah (3/24/09)--Heritage West FCU was among the financial institutions involved in a county health pandemic drill that focused on distributing medicine through drive-throughs at financial institutions. The Tooele (Utah) County Health Department, which set up the drill Saturday, tested the use of credit union and bank drive-through windows to disseminate anti-viral medications to the public in the event of a flu pandemic, bioterrorism attack or other disaster (Deseret News March 22). Tooele residents participated by driving up to the window and sending a filled-out form through the pneumatic,cash-handling tube. The "medication"--a new gold dollar for each person in the vehicle--was placed in a prepared envelope by a public health nurse, under the direction of a pharmacist, and sent back through the tube to the vehicle. Health officials told the publication that 60% to 70% of the population could go through a nonmedical model to receive medication by driving in and out with directions on how to take the medicine. The drive-through model would reduce risk to exposure and provide an efficient way to dispense medication, which would be critical to saving the greatest number of lives, they said. The exercise in Tooele and a similar one in Grantsville served 809 cars, with 2,369 gold dollars given out in about two hours. The only difficulty: Getting sufficient size or amount of medication through the pneumatic tubes. The officials plan to work on packaging.


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