House panel examines bill aimed at boosting U.S. biothreat preparedness

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health recently held a hearing on the Strengthening Public Health Emergency Response Act, H.R. 3299, which seeks to improve the nation’s biothreat-response capabilities.

“The bill before us today reforms our nation’s medical-countermeasure acquisition process, incentivizes research to combat the next generation of deadly diseases, and increases accountability of preparedness spending,” U.S. Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), chairman of the subcommittee, said. “Such improvements will go a long way toward helping our preparedness for future public health emergencies, such as Ebola, by creating new incentives for developing necessary medicines and vaccines, and streamlining the contracting process for medical countermeasures.”

The bill is a bipartisan effort co-authored by Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA). It includes a measure to incentivize the development of medical countermeasures.

 “Incentives are necessary to attract private investment in product development, and so too must the contracting processes be efficient," Pitts said. "We must get this right. The stakes are too high, and the cost of failure too dire.”



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