Project BioShield: Authorities, Appropriations, Acquisitions, and Issues for Congress [February 7, 2011]   [open pdf - 244KB]

"In 2004, Congress passed the Project BioShield Act (P.L. 108-276) to encourage the private sector to develop medical countermeasures to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism agents and to provide a novel mechanism for federal acquisition of those newly developed countermeasures. Although some countermeasures have been acquired through this law, Congress continues to address several Project BioShield-related policy issues. These include whether to continue diverting Project BioShield acquisition funding to other purposes; whether to change the countermeasure development and acquisition process; how to replace stockpiled countermeasures as they expire; and whether to alter federal efforts to encourage the development of broad-spectrum countermeasures. This law has three main provisions: (1) relaxing regulatory requirements for some CBRN terrorism-related spending, including hiring personnel and awarding research grants; (2) guaranteeing a federal market for new CBRN medical countermeasures; and (3) permitting emergency use of unapproved countermeasures. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has used each of these authorities. [...] Since passing the Project BioShield Act, subsequent Congresses have considered additional measures to further encourage countermeasure development. The 109th Congress created the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in HHS through the Pandemic and All-Hazard Preparedness Act (P.L. 109-417). Among other duties, BARDA oversees all of HHS's Project BioShield procurements. The Pandemic and All-Hazard Preparedness Act also modified the Project BioShield procurement process. Some stakeholders question whether these changes have sufficiently improved federal countermeasure development and procurement. The Administration plans to improve the countermeasure research, development, and acquisition process based on findings of an HHS review."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41033
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