Accession Number:



Public Health Preparedness: HHS Has Taken Some Steps to Implement New Authority to Speed Medical Countermeasure Innovation

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Congressional Report]

Corporate Author:

United States Government Accountability Office

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The Coronavirus Disease 2019 COVID-19 pandemic as well as past infectious disease outbreaks such as the 2015 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak raise concerns about our nations vulnerability and capacity to prevent or mitigate potential health effects from exposure to such threats. Medical countermeasures are drugs, vaccines, and devices to diagnose, treat, prevent, or mitigate potential health effects of exposure to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear CBRN agents and emerging infectious diseases, such as influenza pandemics.1 Our prior work has noted that responding to the ever-changing nature and broad array of CBRN threats often entails developing new technologies and approaches, while the process of researching and developing medical countermeasures is lengthy, complex, and expensive.2 Further, several challenges, including low profitability, intellectual property rights, and the general lack of a commercial market for some medical countermeasures may reduce incentives for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to invest time and money to develop these products instead of others that may be more profitable.3

Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Medical Facilities, Equipment and Supplies

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]