"The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the federal agency primarily responsible for identifying and supporting the development and acquisition of the medical countermeasures needed to prevent or mitigate potential health effects from exposure to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) agents and other terrorist threats. In addition to identifying these countermeasures, including those for thermal burns, HHS also has responsibility for engaging with industry to research and develop them and, ultimately, for acquiring them for the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), if appropriate. The Project BioShield Act of 2004 authorized the establishment of a procurement fund for these countermeasures. Specifically, the act authorized the appropriation of about $5.6 billion over the 10-year period from fiscal year 2004 through fiscal year 2013 for the Project BioShield Special Reserve Fund to acquire certain medical countermeasures for the SNS. Multiple organizations have raised concerns about HHS's ability to work with industry to successfully develop and acquire medical countermeasures to respond to CBRN incidents and other terrorist threats, and since 2004 congressional committees have held several hearings to assess HHS's medical countermeasure development and acquisition efforts. You requested that we examine whether HHS has developed and acquired medical countermeasures that address thermal burn injuries that would result from conventional explosives or radiological or nuclear devices. Our review addresses (1) the medical countermeasures in the SNS that would address thermal burns, (2) the steps HHS has taken to obtain information about and inform industry of its interest in additional countermeasures for thermal burns, and (3) the medical countermeasures in the pipeline for development and acquisition into the SNS that could serve to address thermal burns."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/