U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2001
|Contact: HHS Press Office
ADDITIONAL $1.5 BILLION PROPOSED TO COMBAT BIOTERRORISM
Emergency Request To Strengthen Nations Ability To Respond To Any Threat
The $1.5 billion emergency budget request will support efforts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other HHS agencies, as well as state and local efforts. Key elements include:
- Expanding the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile. The proposal includes $643 million to expand this essential program that ensures speedy distribution of antibiotics and other supplies in the event of a major incident. It would ensure antibiotics are available to protect as many as 12 million people from potential anthrax exposure, as well as increasing other stockpiles of medical supplies at secure locations around the country. This funding also would support state and local stockpiles and train state and local experts in the use of stockpiled supplies if needed.
- Expanding smallpox vaccine supplies. The proposal includes $509 million to speed the development and acquisition of smallpox vaccine in order to reach any American potentially exposed to the virus in a potential bioterrorist attack. Currently, more than 15 million doses of smallpox vaccine are available. The additional funds will allow the department to stockpile as much vaccine as needed to protect the nation in the event of an outbreak of smallpox.
- Speeding the development of new bioterrorism tools. The proposal includes $34.6 million to expedite the work of the FDA on bioterrorism vaccines, drug therapies, diagnostic tests and consultations with other agencies and private industry.
- Increasing state and local readiness. The proposal includes $175 million for state and local efforts related to bioterrorism readiness. Specifically, $50 million will support increased capacity at the nations hospitals and other health facilities in the event of any incident that could potentially lead to mass casualties. Another $50 million will bolster the Metropolitan Medical Response System, consisting of federally supported local preparedness efforts in 122 cities this fiscal year, to respond to bioterrorism, especially the public health aspects; $10 million will support other local planning efforts; $40 million will support early detection surveillance to identify potential bioterrorism agents; $15 million will support increased capacity in up to an additional 45 state and local laboratories (for a total of 78); and $10 million will increase the capacity for CDC and state and local laboratories to assess exposure to 150 hazardous chemical agents through blood and urine tests.
- Expanding HHS response capabilities. The proposal includes $88 million to expand HHS capacity to respond to bioterrorism incidents, including $20 million for the CDCs Rapid Response and Advance Technology and specialty labs, which provide quick identification of suspected agents and technical assistance to state labs; and $20 million to support additional specialized expert epidemiology teams to send to states and cities to rapidly respond to public health risks, infectious diseases and other disaster-related needs, including Epidemic Intelligence Officers specifically assigned to all 50 states. Other resources will increase capacity in other HHS response programs; strengthen emergency communication for federal, state and local governments during crisis situations; and improve global surveillance of infectious diseases, focusing on potential terrorist agents.
- Improving food safety. The proposal includes $61 million to allow increased inspections of imported food products. The additional resources will allow the FDA to hire 410 more inspectors, lab specialists and other compliance experts, in addition to allowing the FDA to invest in new technology and scientific equipment to detect select agents.
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Note: Additional background is available at www.hhs.gov. Click on "Biological Incidents."