U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) recently announced that legislative provisions she authored to bolster America’s public health preparedness and response systems were included in the $1.7 trillion year-end government funding package signed into law in December 2022 by President Joe Biden.
“The past three years have clearly demonstrated that we must work to ensure that our country is better prepared for future epidemics and pandemics,” Sen. Collins said. “This bipartisan legislation represents an important step forward that will address a number of shortcomings that were exposed during our nations’ response to COVID-19. It will also strengthen our public health systems and better protect our communities.”
Included in the omnibus was the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act, also known as the PREVENT Pandemics Act, S. 3799, which was introduced in March 2022 by U.S. Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Richard Burr (R-NC). S. 3799 included key provisions authored by Sen. Collins, according to a bill summary provided by her staff.
Specifically, the enacted law includes sections from S. 3799 authored by Sen. Collins that will increase domestic manufacturing of generic medicines and medical supplies, according to the summary, as well as those to expand the public health workforce and provide student loan relief for health professionals.
Additionally, her enacted provisions will improve preparedness at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, alleviate drug shortages, bolster requirements for foreign manufacturers, and increase behavioral health resources, the summary says.