Combating Terrorism: Chemical and Biological Medical Supplies Are Poorly Managed, Report to Congressional Committees   [open pdf - 126KB]

The ability of the United States to effectively respond to terrorist attacks involving chemical or biological weapons is compromised by poor management controls and the lack of items on a list of required inventory. For example, GAO's review of stockpiles maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs found discrepancies of more than 12 percent with this list. Although most of these discrepancies were overages, GAO also found shortages. The underlying cause of these problems is that federal agencies have lagged in implementing basic internal controls to help ensure that all medical supplies and pharmaceuticals are current, accounted for, and ready for use. The stakes will be even higher in the future as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) establishes the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile Program, which will set aside large quantities of antidotes and other medical supplies to be used in the event of domestic chemical and biological attacks. Although CDC is still in the early stages of developing this program, its current plan lacks comprehensive internal controls that would prevent the types of problems that GAO found at other agencies.

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Government Accountability Office (GAO): http://www.gao.gov/
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