HHS set to release report on counter bioterrorism strategy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is expected to release a report this week that deals with the agency’s strategy to counter bioterrorism and other public health threats.

The report is expected to elucidate what the Obama administration has in mind for the new bioterrorism initiatives announced at the 2010 State of the Union address. The HHS’s current review of their medical countermeasures system was ordered in December 2009, according to HealthWatch.

The report comes in the recent wake of congressional attempts to cut funding for Project BioShield, a program that reserves money to spend towards the private sector development of vaccines and therapeutics in a national bioterror emergency.

House Democrats slashed $2 billion from Project BioShield to pay for its war supplemental legislation, but the senate replaced this with another pay-for.

The HHS report is expected to directly oppose raiding the fund, an industry source told HealthWatch, but the industry will still have long-term funding problems.

Senators Joseph Lieberman (I – Conn.) and Judd Gregg (R – N.H.) wrote to the top Senate Republican and Democrat, urging them to oppose the cuts.

Former Senators Bob Graham (D- Fla.) and Jim Talent (R – Miss.), the chairmen of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, wrote to President Obama last month with a similar aim.