The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bill on Thursday introduced by U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) aimed at incentivizing investments in vaccines and treatments for dangerous and deadly diseases identified as threats to our national security.
The Strengthening Public Health Emergency Response Act, H.R. 3299, seeks to enhance the strategic national stockpile by storing large quantities of medicine and necessary vaccines to protect the populace in the event of a biological agent attack.
Additionally, the bill would aim to ensure the faster development of critical medical countermeasures and eliminate bureaucratic rep tape. The program will also incentivize the development, testing and distribution of vaccines and treatments for those type of threats by allowing a private sector company that receives approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a material threat vaccine or treatment to be eligible to receive a voucher that allows the holder to receive FDA priority review status for any future product.
“Terrorist groups, including ISIS, are reportedly exploring biological attacks with smallpox and other agents,” Brooks said. “We can’t ignore the danger that these kinds of weapons pose to our national security, especially in our increasingly mobile and inter-connected world. We must continue to enact policies like H.R. 3299 that will put us in a stronger position to defend our health and our country from threats, whether occurring in nature or deployed by our enemies.”