RealNews

Lawmakers question $5.6B bioterror bill

House Homeland Security Committee members on Thursday sharply questioned the cost, usefulness and adequacy of a $5.6 billion, 10-year Bush administration plan designed to pay drug companies incentives to make vaccines and treatments for deadly terrorist bio-weapons like anthrax. The program, called “Bioshield,” is designed to try to assure drug companies they will be assured a federal market for bioterror defense products if they put their “best and brightest” to work developing them, testified Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci was one of the architects of the plan, which President Bush introduced in his January State of the Union address. Fauci and three other medical experts on biological terrorist agents testified at the hearing. The pharmaceutical industry has said it cannot afford to spend millions researching a product that may never be needed and, if it is, will be distributed by the government agencies. Full Story

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