It’s budget time here in Washington, with appropriators in the House and Senate working overtime to craft a budget that can pass both chambers and keep our government funded for another year – not always the easiest of tasks. Here at BIO, we’ve been just as busy working to ensure that the FY 2015 budget contains adequate funding for a host of programs that encourage medical innovation, robust public health and emergency preparedness programs, and a strong biotechnology industry.
Today, we issued letters with our specific recommendations for accomplishing those goals. One of the most important areas of the budget that we’ve been looking at is the funding for public health programs that support the development and purchase of vaccines and biodefense/medical countermeasures for use in an emergency. Some of our more important requests include:
Project BioShield – BIO strongly supports $2.8 billion for the Project BioShield Special Reserve Fund (SRF) over 5 years for procurement (FY 2014-2018), as is consistent with PAHPRA. For FY 2015, we request $636 million for the SRF, which is one-fourth of the remaining amount authorized by the House and Senate in PAHPRA.
Pandemic Influenza – BIO supports $300 million in no-year funding for pandemic influenza in FY 2015. This funding supports HHS’ efforts to prepare for, and respond to, a pandemic influenza outbreak including the advanced development of vaccines, antivirals and diagnostics; pre-pandemic rapid response capability; and the replenishment of pre-pandemic vaccine stockpiles.
Section 317 Immunization Program – BIO requests that the Committee provide $650 million to the CDC for the Section 317 Immunization Program, which is comparable to the FY 2012 funding level. Vaccinations are one of the most cost-effective public health approaches to reducing healthcare costs because they prevent disease before it occurs and spreads through our communities.
Influenza Planning and Response – BIO supports the President’s FY 2015 budget request of $187.5 million for influenza planning and response programs at the CDC. Influenza has a significant public health impact in the United States each year, causing, on average, approximately 226,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths. Vaccination is the primary method for preventing influenza infection and has been proven to be safe and effective.
Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) – BIO supports the President’s FY 2015 budget request of $415 million to support the activities of BARDA, as this is consistent with the funding level authorized in the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2013 (PAHPRA, P.L. 113-5). This funding is essential to our nation’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies, whether naturally-occurring or deliberate, such as a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) event. It will support BARDA’s advanced development pipeline, which currently includes approximately 80 candidate medical countermeasures (MCMs) such as broad-spectrum antimicrobials, rapid diagnostics, and next-generation products.
Strategic National Stockpile – BIO supports the President’s FY 2015 budget request of $543 million for FY 2015 for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). This funding would enable the SNS to acquire and replenish products, such as vaccines, diagnostics, devices, antimicrobials, and other therapeutics that can be developed and procured in advance of a public health emergency.
State and Local Preparedness and Response Capability – BIO requests that the Committee provide $670 million to the CDC for the State and Local Preparedness and Response Capability program.