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  • Pandemic Preparedness Bill Addresses Critical Gaps



    With a key provision supporting the development of a trained and ready public health workforce, and new efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance, the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act reauthorization bill approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday addresses issues that are essential to ensuring we have the resources and capacities we will need to confront emerging threats to public health.

    The Infectious Diseases Society of America, which has led efforts to make lawmakers aware of needs to strengthen the workforce of expert responders, and to address the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, including in this legislation, will urge the full House and Senate to move forward with a strong reauthorization that contains these critical provisions along with increased resources for public health emergency preparedness programs.

    While physicians trained to detect, prevent, treat and contain infectious diseases are our frontline of defense against public health emergencies that can include outbreaks, natural disasters and bioterror attacks, support for training, including through medical education loan repayment, to enter a specialty that provides relatively low economic compensation for physicians has been notably lacking. The bill released by the committee today takes an important step toward bolstering our preparedness by providing loan repayment opportunities for individuals serving in U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epidemic Intelligence Service, a program that provides expert responders and trains future public health leaders.

    In addition, while infections resistant to existing antibiotics pose increasing threats, with slow return on investments in antibiotic research and development, efforts to build the needed arsenal of new drugs have languished. The bill released by the committee today supports additional initiatives through the Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to address antimicrobial resistance including with strategies to drive the development of new drugs. Importantly, the bill also codifies the expert council advising the federal government on AMR solutions. IDSA looks forward to continuing to work with Congress on needed incentives for new antibiotic development.

    IDSA will continue to encourage legislators to make the most of the opportunity that reauthorization of the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act provides, and urge that the full House and Senate move forward with a bill that strengthens our abilities to address the public health threats before us now, and ahead.

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