WASHINGTON—Today, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee advanced the PREVENT Pandemics Act, which includes seven bills and additional provisions led by U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA). Dr. Cassidy’s bills prepare America to face future pandemics, by strengthening our Strategic National Stockpile, and increasing coordination between our public health infrastructure and health care system. The PREVENT Pandemics Act passed the HELP Committee 20-2 and now heads to the Senate floor for a vote.
“COVID showed us what we didn’t know. This legislation takes those lessons and makes us better prepared to fight future such threats,” said Dr. Cassidy.
Cassidy’s legislation in the PREVENT Pandemics Act includes:
- The Tracking Pathogens Act enhances the United States’ ability to anticipate future pandemics before they arrive on our shores, through genomic sequencing and other cutting-edge tools.
- Medical Device Integrity Act supports essential medical supplies to be Made in America and ensures access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and high-quality medical devices in every community. It also tamps down on counterfeit devices by giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to request records from device manufacturers and requires that they comply with these requests.
- Strategic Planning for Emergency Medical Manufacturing Act requires the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to maintain a voluntary network of manufacturers willing to engage with the federal government for the purposes of producing medical products during a public health emergency.
- Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act reduces America’s dependence on foreign adversaries like China to maintain our Strategic National Stockpile and boosts domestic manufacturing of medical supplies instead. It also improves transparency to ensure the effectiveness of the Strategic National Stockpile during future public health emergencies.
- The Modernizing Bio-Surveillance Capabilities and Epidemic Forecasting Act requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to better track infectious diseases to enhance epidemic forecasting capabilities and improve our responses to future pandemics.
- The Centers for Public Health Preparedness and Response Reauthorization Act improves communication in public health preparedness and response. The bill designates regional academic and medical centers as research and communication hubs that disseminate public health information during a public health emergency.
- Legislation to Harness Real-World Evidence in FDA Approval Process enables the FDA to develop a clear framework real-world evidence (RWE) gathered during emergency use authorization (EUA) to fast-track approvals for drugs, biologics, vaccines and medical devices.
- Provision that allows biologics to hold the Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) designation.
- Provision that includes ‘other transaction authority’ for CDC that will reduce administrative barriers for the agency when they are trying to respond to a public health emergency.
- Provision that promotes improved management of the strategic national stockpile through reliance on vendor-managed inventory strategies and other private-sector best practices.