Routing and Scheduling for Medication Distribution Plans
Herrmann, Jeffrey W.
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This paper presents a two-stage approach for solving the medication distribution problem. The problem addresses a critical issue in emergency preparedness. Public health officials must plan the logistics for distributing medication to points of dispensing (PODs), which will give medication to the public in case of a bioterrorist attack such as anthrax. We consider the problem at the state and local levels. Our approach separates the problem into two subproblems: (1) the “routing problem” assigns PODs to vehicles and creates routes for each vehicle, and (2) the “scheduling problem” determines when the vehicles should start these routes and how much material should be delivered on each trip. This paper presents the results of using this approach to construct solutions for a realistic three-county scenario. The results show that the routing and scheduling decisions greatly affect the quality of the solution.