Preparing for a pandemic

Control Risks North America’s Brian Kaye discusses maintaining business continuity in the face of an influenza outbreak

10. What is the firm’s position on the procurement and stockpiling of both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical protective measures? 
This has been such a hot topic, one viewing media coverage might conclude that antivirals are the sine qua non of pandemic preparedness. In fact, the successful procurement and deployment of antiviral medications is a hugely challenging task which is difficult to get right and should be examined carefully considering the opportunity costs in terms of time, effort, and money when compared to other influenza mitigation options. 
While there can be no absolute right or wrong answer on this matter where all firms are concerned, antiviral stockpiling can make more sense for certain types of businesses than others. The question remains “What’s right for your firm?” 
There are a number of specific areas and measures companies should consider to minimize the risk exposure of their businesses and people. These measures can help corporations guarantee the continuity of their operations. For corporations with outdated or without pandemic preparedness plans, the first step is for the executive management team to set guiding principles for the coming weeks and months which address duty of care responsibility and to communicate those decisions, as appropriate, to the workforce. There are also policies and protocols that, once put in place, can have a strong impact in countering a pandemic emergency.
About the author: Brian Kayeis vice president and national practice leader, business continuity, for Control Risks North America. He is responsible for developing, implementing and managing world-class business continuity solutions for Control Risks’ client base, including Fortune 100 companies. He also chairs Control Risks’ International Business Continuity Working Group. Before joining Control Risks, Brian served as an Intelligence Analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), specializing in terrorism. Brian holds a Masters degree in International Affairs from The Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the Shenandoah University Byrd School of Business.