Can Strategic Medical Stockpiles Help the US in its Fight Against COVID-19?

Highlights:

  • Strategic National Stockpile was launched in 1999
  • The stockpile holds 30 million surgical masks and 12 million N95 masks

The US Government as per its strategic policy maintains a huge stockpile for medical supplies that would be needed during national emergencies. The US officials have now confirmed that they have started using this stockpile in the fight against COVID-19.

However, a former homeland security official, Tara O’Toole said, “It’s never going to be as big as you want, because it’s just too expensive to do that. The stockpile started out being very specialized and intended to supply drugs we would need if there were a chemical, radiological, biological or nuclear attack.”

According to government sources nearly $8 billion of pharmaceutical supplies are stored in these ‘Strategic National Stockpile’. The inventory of these stockpiles includes ventilators, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, protective gear etc. These stockpiles are located around the USA however exact locations are kept classified.

The ‘Strategic National Stockpile’ program was started in 1999 and is supposed to contain drugs that would be needed in a case of radiological, biological, chemical or nuclear attack. The stockpile also has vaccines against anthrax and smallpox as well as radiation sickness.

Strategic National Stockpile over the years has also made arrangements for epidemics like influenzas and anti-flu drugs. It is intended to fill the supply shortages that are created in the supply chain in the event of an epidemic.

Former Director of the Strategic National Stockpile program, Greg Burel added, “Our Strategic National Stockpile is the envy of the world that understands these things and knows what’s there.”

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