From today’s New York Times, a story surveying the problems in which Project BioShield is currently mired:
The last of the anthrax-laced letters was still making its way through the mail in late 2001 when top Bush administration officials reached an obvious conclusion: the nation desperately needed to expand its medical stockpile to prepare for another biological attack.
The result was Project BioShield, a $5.6 billion effort to exploit the countryâ€™s top medical and scientific brains and fill an emergency medical cabinet with new drugs and vaccines for a host of threats. â€œWe will rally the great promise of American science and innovation to confront the greatest danger of our time,â€ President Bush said in starting the program.
But the project, critics say, has largely failed to deliver.
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.
The article builds off the excellent piece in Time Magazine back in January on BioShield and goes into great detail on the nasty fight between VaxGen and Emergent BioSolutions (formerly BioPort) over anthrax vaccine contracts.