HELP committee approves legislation with Romney measures to improve pandemic preparedness & response

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee today voted to approve the bipartisan Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act (PREVENT Pandemics Act) with measures offered by U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) to improve our domestic manufacturing surge capacity and capabilities for biodefense and pandemic preparedness and response and require an inventory of the public health preparedness, response, and recovery data systems and an analysis of the duplication, fragmentation, and overlap of these programs. The PREVENT Pandemics Act passed out of the HELP Committee by a vote of 20-2.

“I thank the Chair and Ranking Member for including my bill to allow for new capabilities for domestic surge manufacturing so that medical countermeasures, from tests and personal protective equipment, to vaccines and therapeutics, can be rapidly manufactured to respond to public health emergencies,” Senator Romney said. “It will help ensure that we are better prepared in a future public health emergency.

“I am pleased that the Committee also included my provision to require a thorough inventory of the fragmented public health preparedness, response, and recovery data systems that exist across HHS and an analysis of the duplication, fragmentation, and overlap of these programs,” Romney continued. “Understanding the systems we have in place, and how they help or hinder our preparedness capabilities, is an important first step in streamlining this information.

“The arrival of COVID caught our nation flat-footed and without the ability to monitor the spread of disease in real time. As a result, policy makers were left making decisions without essential information. We need to learn from our mistakes and ensure that in the event of another pandemic, the United States is ready with the data we need to make smart decisions for the American public.” Romney concluded.