Planning the bioterrorism response supply chain: Learn and live


  • Margaret L. Brandeau, PhD
  • David W. Hutton, MS
  • Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS
  • Dena M. Bravata, MD, MS



bioterrorism, logistics, supply chain, inventory management


Responses to bioterrorism require rapid procurement and distribution of medical and pharmaceutical supplies, trained personnel, and information. Thus, they present significant logistical challenges. On the basis of a review of the manufacturing and service supply chain literature, the authors identified five supply hain strategies that can potentially increase the speed of response to a bioterrorism attack, reduce inventories, and save money: effective supply chain network design; effective inventory management; postponement of product customization and modularization of component parts; coordination of supply chain stakeholders and appropriate use of incentives; and effective information management. The authors describe how concepts learned from published evaluations of manufacturing and service supply chains, as well as lessons learned from responses to natural disasters, naturally occurring outbreaks, and the 2001 US anthrax attacks, can be applied to design, evaluate, and improve the bioterrorism response supply chain. Such lessons could also be applied to the response supply chains for disease outbreaks and natural and manmade disasters.

Author Biographies

Margaret L. Brandeau, PhD

Department of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

David W. Hutton, MS

Department of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS

VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California; and Stanford-UCSF Evidence-based Practice Center, and Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

Dena M. Bravata, MD, MS

Stanford-UCSF Evidence-based Practice Center and Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Stanford University, Stanford, California.


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How to Cite

Brandeau, PhD, M. L., D. W. Hutton, MS, D. K. Owens, MD, MS, and D. M. Bravata, MD, MS. “Planning the Bioterrorism Response Supply Chain: Learn and Live”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 2, no. 5, Sept. 2007, pp. 231-47, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2007.0032.