Feds To Revamp Bioterrorism And Flu Plans
Federal officials say they will revamp strategies for dealing with bioterrorism and pandemic flu because efforts to develop medical solutions have lagged, the Los Angeles Times reports. They "announced a $1.9-billion makeover of the system for identifying and manufacturing drugs and vaccines for public health emergencies." The makeover includes plans to hasten manufacturing time and improve surveillance to detect such threats more quickly. "Among other things, the effort would provide $822 million for upgrades to speed up production of pandemic flu vaccine. Another large block, $678 million, would be used to set up at least one private facility that would work under government contract with small companies to manufacture new products, develop new manufacturing processes and help produce vaccines during periods of peak demand" (Zajac, 8/20).
The industry is pleased, The Hill reports. An executive for a Danish company that has supplied the government with smallpox vaccine said, "It was with great anticipation that I reviewed the Obama administration's new plan for medical countermeasures against biological threats. Today's announcement that HHS will invest nearly $2 billion to streamline the regulatory process, augment manufacturing capacity and speed the development of novel technologies is a sign that the Obama Administration takes seriously this national security priority" (Pecquet, 8/19).
Separately, The Hill also has more details of what the plan includes, such as "a 'significant investment' in the Food and Drug Administration so federal regulators can more quickly review - and approve - new discoveries," and "creating a strategic investment fund that would help small companies attract investors" (Pecquet, 8/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.