As noted earlier, during the small-group scenario discussions, participants were asked to consider two distinct sets of circumstances: (1) a severe pandemic flu in which an antiviral medication is the only known treatment and the normal channels for obtaining and filling prescriptions are overwhelmed; and (2) a point in time during the pandemic when those antiviral medications have become scarce.
The following sections describe the points and themes identified during discussion exercises in which participants were asked to respond to a series of specific questions posed by the two scenarios. All of the information and ideas compiled below are not generalizable to the broader population, and should not be construed as reflecting consensus or endorsement by participants in the community conversations, the Preparedness Forum, or the IOM.
Goals and Values for Prescribing and Dispensing Antiviral Medications
At various points throughout the sessions, participants were asked to reflect on which goals and values are most important for policy makers to advance when developing alternative strategies for prescribing and distributing antiviral medications during a pandemic.
Some of the themes delineated below reflect responses to direct questions about goals and values, while others are based on ideas that emerged in the course of discussion of other issues. The common major themes are presented alphabetically; their placement in the list does not signify their degree of importance or any other rating or rank.
Participants discussed the goals and values that should drive policies and individual actions during a pandemic when people with flu-like symptoms face long waits to see health care providers licensed to write prescriptions for antiviral medications. Goals and values identified and cited by at least some participants in each location included
To encourage civic cooperation and positive community action
To foster trust and confidence in the system and in the various players who are making or implementing decisions
To prevent panic and negative behaviors such as hoarding