National Preparedness: Improvements Needed for Acquiring Medical Countermeasures to Threats from Terrorism and Other Sources, Report to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate   [open pdf - 2MB]

"The United States remains vulnerable to terrorist and other threats posed by chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) agents. Medical countermeasures-drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic devices-can prevent or treat the effects of exposure, but few are currently available. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) leads federal efforts to develop and acquire countermeasures, primarily through the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE), an interagency body. This report examines the extent to which HHS (1) based its priorities for developing and acquiring countermeasures on CBRN risk assessments; (2) addressed its own recommendations to improve acquisition and development; and (3) coordinated internally for these efforts. GAO [Government Accountability Office] reviewed relevant laws, agency documents, CBRN risk assessments, and reports from outside experts; interviewed HHS and industry officials; and analyzed HHS funding for CBRN countermeasures from fiscal years 2007 through 2010. GAO recommends that HHS update its development and acquisition plan; provide budget priorities for acquisitions; and develop a strategy to monitor implementation of its initiatives. HHS agreed with the first two recommendations. For the third one, HHS said that it had a strategy to track implementation, but in GAO's assessment, the strategy does not meet standards and practices to allow for adequate monitoring."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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Listed on November 2, 2011 [Critical Releases]