Quintiles’ Database May Give Officials an ‘Early Warning System’ Against Bioterrorism Attack
Looking for ways to fight bioterrorism, federal lawmakers are turning to Quintiles Transnational Corp., hoping that the North Carolina-based company can help implement an "early warning system" in the event of an attack, the Charlotte Observer reports. Over the last seven years, Quintiles has built and operated "possibly the largest and most effective database" to track disease outbreaks and prescription drug use nationwide. The Observer reports that company officials will appear before a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee next week to discuss how their database could help federal officials spot a possible outbreak of anthrax, smallpox or other infectious diseases. In addition, Quintiles' database could be used to notify health officials of a "spike" in prescriptions for drugs used to treat pathogens. Committee member Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who asked company officials to testify, said, "By tracking prescriptions, this company may hold the key to identifying a public health threat before it's too late" (Hurt, Charlotte Observer, 10/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.