Experts Analyze Proposed Bioterrorism Legislation

Moderated by:

Frank Cilluffo
Director, HSPI


Dr. Robert Kadlec
Staff Director, Senate Subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness

Public health leaders discussed strategies to improve national biopreparedness at an October 13 HSPI roundtable focused on future U.S. Senate legislation. Featuring Dr. Robert Kadlec, staff director for the Senate Subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness, the roundtable included HSPI Senior Fellows and experts in public health, emergency preparedness and the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr. Kadlec led the roundtable with a summary of the proposed legislation, the National Biodefense Act of 2005. The legislation includes a number of provisions that will help the nation prepare for and respond to naturally occurring, accidental or deliberate biological incidents. The bill seeks to spur development and eliminate barriers to the production of medical countermeasures and strengthen domestic response capacity and coordination following an incident, Dr. Kadlec added.

After the initial briefing, participants discussed the bill’s specific measures and suggested a number of additions. Attendees reviewed bill provisions, including incentives and liability protection for drug manufacturers and providers, and the creation of a National Biodefense Countermeasure Center under the Department of Health and Human Services. The proposed legislation also calls for the establishment of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA) and describes what its role will be in the development of countermeasures.

“The roundtable was extremely positive and productive,” said Frank Cilluffo, HSPI Director. “As we move ahead, this legislation looks to contain many of the necessary mechanisms to bring industry aboard and spur the production of vital vaccines.”


The HSPI Policy & Research Forum series is designed to spotlight cutting-edge policy solutions and innovative strategies to some of the most pressing national and international concerns. The Forum features leading officials, practitioners and thinkers in a systematic way designed to better highlight their work and promote a dialogue on effective solutions to current issues.