A biopharmaceutical distributor with one of the nation’s largest supplies of the serum albumin – used to treat burn victims – on hand, FFF had no way to get its medicine from southern California to New York because of the Federal Aviation Administration’s ban on aircraft operations.
“Normally, we would simply have sent an emergency shipment using traditional delivery methods,” explained Chris Ground, FFF’s vp-sales and marketing, in a press statement. “We could have put the albumin in East Coast hospitals by Tuesday evening, but the air traffic shutdown sent us scrambling.”
FFF said it eventually made the delivery, yesterday, with the assistance of FedEx Custom Critical. The company was able to charter a 747 airliner out of Los Angeles International Airport and obtain emergency FAA clearance.
FFF said that 4 p.m. Tuesday evening, its warehouse staff were loading a convoy of trucks with 74 pallets of albumin vials, enough for 25,000 treatments. The convoy made its way to the airport, where the medicine was transferred to the chartered jet, along with human tissue supplies from the American Red Cross and the shipment's escort, a member of the Greater New York Hospital Association.
The jet landed in Philadelphia about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday morning and trucks were delivering the albumin to 54 hospitals and burn centers in Wisconsin, Alabama, New York and the Carolinas.
“We realized the dire nature of the requests, the gravity of the situation," said Patrick Schmidt, FFF’s president and CEO. “We put the logistics together to make it work.”