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Strategic National Stockpile Adds Seven Medical Treatments: HHS

The U.S. Strategic National Stockpile of drug treatments since 2007 has added seven key medicines for hazards including anthrax, smallpox and botulinum toxin, the Health and Human Services Department said last week in a national health preparedness initiative's new five-year blueprint (see GSN, June 19).

The readiness effort -- dubbed the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise -- would focus over the next half-decade on planning, refining, producing and obtaining important drugs, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy quoted the initiative's newly unveiled policy as stating.

The HHS document calls for eliminating preparatory shortcomings for a cross-section of U.S. inhabitants, in part by making sure vulnerable demographics can make equitable use of response preparations and verifying the implementation of readiness measures for such subgroups.

Ordering of the various areas of focus is slated to be addressed in a separate implementation document due out within several months.

"Both documents together constitute the blueprints the PHEMCE will follow in the near-, mid-, and long-terms to make the best use of available resources to contribute to national health security," states the paper issued on June 20.

Practice drills, the spread of swine flu in 2009 and the Fukushima atomic energy site disaster in 2011 have all informed the PHEMCE procurement methods, it adds.

Integration of the plan with separate U.S. medical readiness efforts is the focus of a half-decade funding preparation initiative being pursued by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the report notes.

The document, unlike its 2007 predecessor, addresses natural epidemiological threats in addition to chemical, biological and radiological and nuclear dangers. The Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise is a six-year-old HHS program that must issue a new policy document at least once every 60 months (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy release, June 27).

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