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The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) warns that "systemic issues" with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) stockpile of vaccines, antibiotics, antidotes, antitoxins, medications and other supplies could place at risk approximately $7 billion of inventory and negatively affect readiness during a national emergency.
Created in 1999, the stockpile is meant to supplement and resupply state and local public health agencies in the event of a national emergency.
OIG audits from 2005 found that stockpile sites lacked adequate protection against theft, tampering, destruction or other loss. And though more recent audits of five selected stockpile sites confirmed that inventory was adequately protected, OIG said in a report issued recently that "some issues" within the inventory system could present risks if CDC does not take corrective action.
OIG’s report found, "Two primary systemic issues may prevent CDC from ensuring that Stockpile sites are adequately protected and that inventory is readily deployable in a public health emergency: although no longer responsible for providing Stockpile security, the Division of Strategic National Stockpile (DSNS) still controls security funding, and the Stockpile automated inventory system did not always accurately track the movement of all inventory or accurately record inventory locations."
Part of the problem, according to OIG, is that in 2005, CDC transferred the responsibility for physical security protection of the stockpile from DSNS to its Office of Safety, Security, and Asset Management (OSSAM), but it did not transfer security funding to OSSAM.
And the automated inventory system did not always accurately manage inventory because DSNS has not taken steps to ensure that the system has the necessary capabilities to do so. OIG recommends that CDC (1) consider directly funding OSSAM's stockpile security mission and (2) improve its automated inventory system so that it can accurately identify inventory movements and locations at all times.
CDC concurred with OIG’s recommendations and described steps that it had taken or planned to take to address them.
Tags: CDC, stockpile of medical products, vaccines, DSNS, OSSAM