"Following the terrorist attacks of 2001, both the Administration and Congress determined that the federal government needed new medical countermeasures (such as diagnostic tests, drugs, vaccines, and other treatments) to respond to an attack using chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) agents. Representatives of the pharmaceutical industry attributed the paucity of CBRN agent countermeasures to the lack of a significant commercial market. They argued that, because these diseases and conditions occur infrequently, the private sector perceived little economic incentive to invest the millions of dollars required to bring treatments to market. [...] This report will provide a brief overview of the authorities established by the Project BioShield Act of 2004, discuss the availability of Project BioShield appropriations, identify the medical countermeasures obtained through Project BioShield, review the relationship between Project BioShield and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), review policy issues and options faced by congressional policymakers, and review current legislation."
CRS Report for Congress, R42349