Episode 26397: Not making us safer in the "war on terror"
From today's NYT we have the story of how the Bush administration has mucked up the stockpiling of drugs in case of a terror attack.
The result was Project BioShield, a $5.6 billion effort to exploit the country’s top medical and scientific brains and fill an emergency medical cabinet with new drugs and vaccines for a host of threats. “We will rally the great promise of American science and innovation to confront the greatest danger of our time,” President Bush said in starting the program.
But the project, critics say, has largely failed to deliver.
I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!!!
So far, only a small fraction of the anticipated remedies are available. Drug companies have waited months, if not years, for government agencies to decide which treatments they want and in what quantities. Unable to attract large pharmaceutical corporations to join the endeavor, the government is instead relying on small start-up companies that often have no proven track record.
For $900 million there is no increase in stockpile of drugs to treat anthrax. The 2 small biotech companies involved have hired lobbyists to do battle. Now theres a dispute between the government and VaxGen and the government.
The only doses that have been added to the stockpile are of a decades-old vaccine that has generated complaints of serious side effects.
“The inept implementation of the program has led the best brains and the best scientists to give up, to look elsewhere or devote their resources to medical initiatives that are not focused on biodefense,” said Michael Greenberger, director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland.
Even some former department officials who helped create BioShield are dismayed.
“I find this all rather repugnant,” said D. A. Henderson, a former top bioterrorism official. “You have people here who, in the face of a problem of serious import, are using every tactic they can to line their own pockets.”
And He's surprised by this? Isn't this on page one of the Bush operations manual.
“A torturous labyrinth of federal fiefdoms into which billions disappear,” Representative Christopher Shays, Republican of Connecticut, said of the program. “Yet few antidotes have yet to emerge.”
When you go to the dictionary and look up incompetence it will have a picture of GWB