Stimulus package offers boost for pharma
The bill allocates $420m to combating pandemic influenza that may, at the discretion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), be used: “for the construction or renovation of privately owned facilities for the production of pandemic influenza vaccine and other biologics.”
Novartis recently benefited from the US government’s pandemic preparations when it received $487m from the HHS for help with constructing a vaccine plant. If passed the bill would provide additional funding for similar public-private ventures.
The funding can also be used for “the development and purchase of vaccine, antivirals, necessary medical supplies, diagnostics, and other surveillance tools”.
A further $430m has been allocated to Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which was set up in 2006 to perform research into the “efficient development, testing, manufacture, storage, or use” of products for dealing with pandemics.
The funding is a significant increase over the $160m a year the body was authorised to receive in 2007 and 2008 and should help the US advance research into pandemic countermeasures.
In addition to the funding for tackling a pandemic the bill also contains $3bn for performing tasks including the US’ immunisation programme, health promotions and plans for dealing with HIV.
Following a successful vote in House of Representatives to bill will now pass to the Senate. The complete bill can be viewed here.