Lurie issues statement on PAHPA

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Nicole Lurie issued a statement on Wednesday after President Obama signed the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act into law.

Lurie praised Congress on its bipartisan leadership in reauthorizing PAHPA, which was first passed in 2006 in an effort to allow the federal government to support communities in preventing, preparing for and responding to public health emergencies and disasters. The law helps to provide the U.S. with drugs, vaccines and medical equipment and supplies after a pandemic or an act of terrorism.

"PAHPA authorizes funding through 2018 for buying these medical countermeasures under the Project BioShield Act, and increases the flexibility of BioShield to support advanced research and development of potential medical countermeasures," Lurie said. "PAHPA also enhances the authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to support rapid responses to public health emergencies by clarifying that even before an event, FDA may issue an emergency use authorization to allow emergency use of certain products as medical countermeasures."

Lurie said the added FDA authority supports more flexible, streamlined and responsive processes before and after an emergency.

The 2013 law also authorizes funding for medical preparedness and public health programs, such as the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement and the Hospital Preparedness Program.

"The Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act contributes to our collective ability - agencies at all levels of government, private industry, and community organization - to be more nimble, effective and efficient as we improve our nation's health preparedness and every community's resilience," Lurie said.