Bush signs BioShield legislation

first_imgJul 21, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – President Bush today signed the bill establishing Project BioShield, a $5.6 billion program to speed the development of drugs and vaccines to combat the effects of biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological agents. The 10-year program guarantees that the government will buy promising drugs and vaccines for agents such as smallpox and anthrax, which probably would not be profitable otherwise. It also empowers the government to authorize emergency use of medical measures that have not won normal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Bush first proposed the BioShield program in his state-of-the-union speech in January 2003. The bill signed today passed the Senate unanimously in May and passed the House in a 414-2 vote on Jul 14. “By authorizing unprecedented funding and providing new capabilities, Project BioShield will help America purchase, develop and deploy cutting-edge defenses against catastrophic attack,” Bush stated in a signing ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. “We will rally the great promise of American science and innovation to confront the greatest danger of our time.” Bush also said, “The Department of Health and Human Services has already taken steps to purchase 75 million additional doses of an improved anthrax vaccine for the Strategic National Stockpile. Under Project BioShield, HHS is moving forward with plans to acquire a safer, second generation smallpox vaccine, an antidote to botulinum toxin, and better treatments for exposure to chemical and radiological weapons.” HHS is also launching new research programs to develop treatments for victims of biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks, according to Bush’s statement. Under BioShield, HHS is expected to be able to process research grants in about 6 months, compared with 18 to 24 months normally, he said.center_img See also: He added that HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson has ordered the FDA to prepare guidelines and procedures for using its new authority to authorize the emergency use of unapproved drugs and vaccines in case of a biological attack. Jul 16 CIDRAP News story, “House send BioShield bill to Bush” Bush’s statementhttp://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/07/print/20040721-2.htmllast_img

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