Late Breaking News
Former Navy Man Helps Eisai Bring Comfort to Victims of Haitian Earthquake
- Categorized in: March 2010
In the days immediately following the Haitian earthquake disaster, Eisai’s National Strategic Accounts Manager, Dan Geiger, coordinated the donation of critical care products directly to the Department of Defense. On the afternoon of Jan 15, Eisai’s Executive Committee contacted Geiger to ask how the company could go about donating its critical care product, Fragmin® (dalteparin sodium injection) directly to the DoD. Fragmin is used to prevent life-threatening clots during and after surgeries.
Geiger spent 24 years as a Navy hospital corpsman, pharmacy technician and later as an officer and pharmacist, including a stint serving on the US Navy hospital ship, USNS Comfort as its Chief of Pharmacy during the first Gulf War.
While very different from his wartime experiences, the thought of maneuvering through the potential mountains of red tape at the DoD to get Eisai’s proposed donation presented a daunting task. “The Friday after the earthquake was the start of a federal government holiday weekend, culminating with Martin Luther King Day,” notes Geiger. “I knew this request couldn’t come at a more difficult time to get something like this accomplished.”
To facilitate the donation, he contacted a former colleague at the Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia. Geiger heard back that day. By Monday, the US South Command responsible for operations in Haiti called and said that it would welcome donations of Fragmin for use on the USNS Comfort. “The Navy told me that they were thrilled with our approach,” said Geiger. Too often in these kinds of situations, medicines go directly to the mainland, never reaching those who need the supplies the most. By going directly to the Comfort, Eisai’s medicine immediately got to the people who needed it.
Geiger quickly received confirmation that the first of more than 85,000 doses of Fragmin, was on its way to the USNS Comfort, a 1,000-bed floating hospital that was anchored off the coast of Port-au-Prince.
“It took a matter of days and was a true team effort,” he continues. “I was the middleman between the US South Command and Glenn Okoniewski, Eisai’s Senior Manager for Trade Sales Operations. Glenn worked with the Fragmin marketing team, as well as Eisai’s manufacturing and distribution operations in Research Triangle Park to get the donation assembled and shipped from its warehouse to the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, FL. On Friday, Jan 22, the shipment was airlifted directly to the Comfort.”
A total of 20 pallets of Fragmin were shipped, with highest priority given to the first four pallets representing the number of doses that physicians on the Comfort had determined they would need immediately for scheduled surgeries.
“It all fell into place and happened very quickly,” said Geiger. “ I expected we would be tied up in red tape for some time.”
“ I’m so proud Eisai was able to make this contribution and pull it all together in just over a week,” said Geiger. “If the need arises again, I don’t know if we can pull off another miracle like this one but we’ll certainly exhaust every option and do our best to find a way!”