Washington, D.C.– A new Bipartisan Policy Center report, co-authored by former Sens. Tom Daschle and Judd Gregg, outlines options for policymakers to optimally fund the development and stockpiling of effective medical countermeasures, such as medicines and vaccines, to safeguard Americans against a pandemic or bioterrorism attack.
The report, Budgeting for Medical Countermeasures: An Ongoing Need for Preparedness, emphasizes the need for a sustained and multi-pronged approach by the public and private sectors to better prepare the United States against chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear threats. It highlights the success of Project BioShield, a program developed by Congress in 2004 to address this critical need. Over the past 13 years, the program has supported 27 medical countermeasures to protect the American public. However, in recent years, the program has transitioned from multi-year to year-to-year appropriations, raising concerns about the program’s sustainability and America’s preparedness.
“Project BioShield is a vital program in our nation’s fight against bioterrorism threats,” said BPC co-founder and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. “It is imperative that investments for developing these critical countermeasures are funded in advance of a threat so the right treatments are available at the right time and place to avert a crisis.”
Given the shortcomings in annual congressional appropriations over the past few years, BPC’s report offers three funding options to create more stability for developing medical countermeasures, including: forward funding; emergency funding; and advance appropriations, which provides the most advantages.
In addition to the president’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget this week, the administration also released a FY 2018 discretionary budget addendum, which shows support for a $5 billion lump sum appropriation over 10 years for Project BioShield.
“We are encouraged to see this lump sum payment to the program,” said former Sen. Judd Gregg. “Our nation’s medical countermeasure ecosystem must be a sustained, long-term priority by the federal government and private sector and will require a long-range budgeting plan.”