Senate HELP Committee Passes Legislation to Improve Preparedness for Future Public Health Emergencies

March 16, 2022

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee met Tuesday, and marked-up and passed a bill – the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act (PREVENT Pandemics Act) – focused on strengthening the nation’s public health and medical preparedness and response systems in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. HELP Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-N.C.) introduced the bill, which includes a provision advanced by the blood community that would encourage coordination and collaboration related to the blood supply.

In particular, the legislation would require coordination and collaboration between relevant federal departments and agencies related to the safety and availability of the blood supply. The bill also stipulates that federal agencies consult and communicate with private stakeholders, including blood collection establishments, health care providers, accreditation organizations, researchers and patients, regarding the safety and availability of blood. Additional provisions seek to improve biosafety and biosecurity related to biomedical research, address undue foreign influence in biomedical research, bolster the public health and allied health workforces, strengthen collaboration.

The PREVENT Pandemics Act would require the Food and Drug Administration to modify its processes and practices related to issuing guidances and to improve public communications related to guidances. The bill would also update the ability of the director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to appoint and review leadership within the agency and includes several provisions that are intended to improve the Strategic National Stockpile. Additionally, it would also establish a new office in the White House to oversee pandemic preparedness and response activities.

AABB is committed to advancing policy solutions that strengthen the nation’s blood supply and the vein-to-vein infrastructure that supports it. Additional information about the AABB’s ongoing efforts to improve the sustainability of the blood supply is available on the Blood Sustainability web page.