ternative holistic remedies and for safeguards to prevent pharmaceutical companies from rushing to market dangerous drugs.
A comment that arose in all three locations was that preparedness planning for pandemic influenza—and other public health emergencies requiring the large availability of medications—should be sufficiently robust that scarcity should never be an issue. Each session included one or more participants who were adamant about this point, some of whom took the time to record comments on index cards or their written evaluation forms. Several participants in Fort Benton and Chattanooga favored a strategy of allowing or encouraging the stockpiling of antivirals at home. A few examples of written comments from the Chattanooga session include
• “Most important—we should not run out!!! Make sure there are enough meds for everyone.”
• “If gov’t handed out a bottle per family right now, most of these scenarios would never happen.”
• “If you distribute [the stockpile] now, there’s not a possibility of rushing or overcrowding, and no chance of contamination during delivery.”
Finally, participants were asked to share their perceptions about the quality and value of the public engagement process through a series of ARS statements and a brief written form that provided the chance for them to identify the most valuable parts of the session, whether anything was missing, and add any other comments they might have. Participant ARS responses for all three community conversations reflected several common themes:
• The information presented was trustworthy and helped them understand the challenges of getting antivirals to the public in a pandemic.
• The scenario discussions were productive and allowed them to express their views.
• Hearing other participants’ opinions was useful.
• By the time they took the postsurvey, they had a better understanding of the issues.