The pro-active actions of several pharmaceutical companies to aid of the victims of Katrina must be applauded.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that several pharma companies “have found ways to deliver donations of crucial medicines and medical devices directly into the Katrina disaster zone,” skirting the red tape that has hampered some other relief efforts (see “Drug Companies Handle Their Own Deliveries“).

The industry also contributed “nearly $45 million in medicines, medical supplies and cash have been committed to relief efforts and the amount continues to increase by the hour. The total does not include the contributions of PhRMA member company employees and the many companies committed to matching the pledges of their workers,” according to a PhRMA press release (see “America’’s Pharmaceutical Companies Continue Relief Efforts; Nearly $45 Million in Medicines, Cash Donated So Far“).

But the most impressive actions involved companies that mobilized their own resources to get supplies quickly to victims. Lilly, for example, got theirr incidence-response team to ship supplies using the corporate jet. Abbott delivered a truckload of supplies: “Within 24 hours, the company had loaded Similac infant formula, Pedialyte rehydration solution, Ensure nutritional drink, and diagnostic devices bound for other locations onto trailer trucks usually used as product showrooms.”

I am not usually in favor of free enterprise taking on roles that should be the responsibility of government, but in this case — where our government has proven to be inept and worse — I am happy to see pharmaceutical companies and their employees step up to the plate.