Senator Burr named legislator of the year by BIO

Published 17 March 2006

Know who your friends are. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) named Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) as legislator of the year. Burr was supportive of life science research already during his tenure in the House as a representative from North Carolina, but his major contribution to the industry must be his tireless campaign for encouraging biodefense R&D and production by shielding pharmaceutical companies from litigation in case the vaccines and medications produced had unintended side effects. The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREPA), passed by Congress in December 2005, affords drug makers immunity from potential financial liability for clinical trials of vaccines and treatments for pandemics and bioterror attacks. PREPA’s goal was to encourage rapid production of vaccines in case of a public health threat. The Act encourages such rapid production by removing financial risk barriers for any new vaccines that need to be rushed to market in case of an emergency. PREPA designates the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) as the official responsible for making decisions on weather or not to declare an emergency which would justify removing financial risks. If HHS declares such an emergency, liability protection would extend to doctors and other individuals and organizations involved with any medical product to prevent, treat, mitigate, or diagnose an epidemic.

-read more in this press release; for more on PREPA see this Web site