Trust for America's Health praises reauthorization of PAHPA

Trust for America's Health, a non-profit dedicated to making disease prevention a national priority, applauded the passage on Monday of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act.

The non-partisan organization said the passage of the bill will address some of the gaps the organization found in its 10th annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism report. In the report, TFAH found that while significant progress was made toward improving public health preparedness, there remain persistent gaps in the country's ability to respond to health emergencies.

"The reauthorization bill passed today will help build an even more prepared nation with an increased emphasis on the agility of public health, protecting children and long-range planning for medical countermeasures and other key government functions," Jeffrey Levi, the executive director of TFAH, said.

The bill reauthorizes preparedness grants at the state, local and hospital levels, the development and purchase of medical countermeasures through BioShield and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, state flexibility for the reassignment of public health staff during disasters, implementation and budget plans for national medical countermeasures and the creation of an advisory committee on children and disasters to protect the nation's most vulnerable.

Bavarian Nordic, a vaccine-focused biotechnology company, also lauded the final passage of the PAHPA reauthorization in a statement on Tuesday.

"We are very pleased that the U.S. government has committed to maintaining and improving their stockpile of medical countermeasures by reauthorizing $2.8 billion in BioShield funding over the next five years," Anders Hedegaard, Bavarian Nordic's president and CEO, said. "This new law will also speed up medical countermeasure development which will benefit our long-term relationship with the U.S. government on the development and stockpiling of current and future biodefense vaccines."