House to Set Vote on Rogers' Bipartisan Biodefense Bill

Date: Sept. 21, 2006

House to Set Vote on Rogers' Bipartisan Biodefense Bill

Legislation establishing clear strategies and dependable resources for defending our nation against attacks, either from terrorists or biomedical incidents, was reported from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Wednesday. A vote in the full House is expected next week.

Introduced by U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers, MI-08, and Anna Eshoo, CA-14, the bill would ensure development of strategies and resources to shield America against biological terrorist attacks or illnesses such as avian flu.

"Our nation is vulnerable and Congress must act to establish these protections," said Rogers who serves on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and also on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. "The legislation establishes parameters for preventing or minimizing illness or death as well as the potential for catastrophic social, economic and political disruption.

"America must accelerate development of drugs and vaccines so we can protect our families from deliberate, accidental or natural medical emergencies that involve biological pathogens or chemical or radiological agents. This is crucial for our national security and well being."

The Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2006 would:

* Establish the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide a single point of federal authority for advanced research and development of medical countermeasures, including drugs and vaccines to respond to bioterrorism and natural disease outbreaks.
* Motivate academic researchers, drug and vaccine manufacturers, and other possible partners to commit substantial resources to accelerate development of medical countermeasures and bring new and improved products to the market more quickly.

The legislation, H.R. 5533, once adopted by the House, will be sent to the Senate where there is a companion bill (S.2564) awaiting action.