In a letter to House and Senate leaders sent on November 13, the AVMA and 43 other organizations urged Congress to finalize and pass the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (S. 1855/H.R. 2405). The legislation would renew and extend existing programs including the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and Public Health Emergency Preparedness grants.
The original Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) represented a major step in developing the role of America’s public health and medical systems in preparing for and responding to major emergencies, whether natural or man-made. As evidenced by the recent, widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, our nation faces continuing threats that require an ongoing commitment to health preparedness. The re authorization of PAHPA is an opportunity to build more prepared and resilient communities that are able to weather a crisis, contain its impact, and return to normal as quickly as possible.
The bipartisan legislation will help advance medical countermeasure (MCM) development through increased coordination among agencies, a more transparent and consistent regulatory process, and continued commitment of government funding to incentivize industry to develop these countermeasures for which the federal government is the only customer. Strengthening the pipeline of medical products, drugs and devices that will safeguard the nation during an emergency or pandemic is vital to our national security.
The legislation also includes provisions for advancing bio-surveillance planning. The basic programs that promote preparedness at the federal, state, local, and health system level need re-authorization and implementation.
Both the House and the Senate have approved legislation reauthorizing the preparedness programs with broad bipartisan support. The House approved its bill Dec. 6, 2011, under suspension of the rules, while the Senate approved by unanimous consent its version of the measure March 7.
For more information please contact Gina Luke, assistant director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division.