HHS outlines strategy to prepare for emergencies
HHS in a new report outlines a more aggressive strategy for producing medications, vaccines, equipment and supplies needed for unforeseen health emergencies, tactics known as “medical countermeasures.” The nation is facing an increasingly dangerous landscape “where we don’t know where the next public health crisis will come from,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at a news conference. She and other federal health officials held the briefing to release The Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise Review: Transforming the Enterprise to Meet Long
range National Needs, which reviewed the current process of countering unexpected threats to come up with a new blueprint to improve medical responses to health emergencies. The strategy includes: upgrading science and regulatory capacity at the Food and Drug Administration; faster development of manufacturing processes that could be used for multiple medications or vaccines; encouraging and fostering young companies to bring products to market in an effort to increase the number of new countermeasures available in an emergency; creating new teams at the National Institutes of Health to identify promising research, which would translate into vaccines, drugs and treatments; and upgrading and expediting the process of flu vaccine manufacturing. Sebelius said the federal government would be investing $2 billion to fund these key areas.