Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) commitment to advancing the Medical Countermeasures Innovation Act of 2015 was applauded this week by the Alliance for Biosecurity.
The act, introduced in September by Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bob Casey (D-PA), seeks to encourage the development of medical countermeasures, including drugs, devices and preventative treatments, that would be needed in the event of a biological weapon attack or global pandemic.
The legislation also broadens support for the development of life-saving products against both natural and deliberate chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
“As Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, I recognize that threats facing our nation are growing every day,” Burr said upon introducing the legislation. “The American people expect our government to do everything possible to prevent an attack against us and, if one should occur, be ready to respond, including having as many safe and effective medical countermeasures as readily available as possible. This legislation continues our efforts to be better prepared to protect the American people with the medical countermeasures needed against a range of threats we may face, whether naturally occurring or the result of an attack.”
The Alliance for Biosecurity noted that the legislation will serve to ensure that proper incentives are put in place for companies to successfully bring medical countermeasures to market prior to an emergency.
“We are particularly pleased by Chairman Alexander’s decision to advance biomedical innovation in an area that will also strengthen our national security by preparing the Medical Countermeasures Innovation Act for markup in the near term,” Vice President of Government Affairs for Emergent BioSolutions and Alliance for Biosecurity Co-Chair Chris Frech said. “This bill will accelerate development of medical countermeasures for national security threats by providing new research incentives, increased transparency, and predictable and flexible contracting mechanisms. As last year’s Ebola epidemic illustrated, vaccines and medicines must be developed before a crisis occurs. This legislation will make it easier for the government to work with industry partners and spur innovation in medical countermeasure research and development.”