Backers of avian flu plan hoping to ride on Defense bill

Congress Daily
Monday, December 5, 2005

Leaders in both the House and Senate, mulling funding options to combat a potential avian flu pandemic and liability protections for vaccine makers, are eying the fiscal 2006 Defense appropriations bill as a favored vehicle to carry the $7.1 billion plan, aides and lobbyists said. 
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has passed a broad bioterrorism bill authored by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., that includes liability protections. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is said to favor attaching the flu measures to the Defense bill, although other possibilities are designating the $7.1 billion as an emergency supplemental or adding it to the Labor-HHS spending bill. That spending bill still must be conferenced after the House rejected it. 
Some groups are taking a dim view of the liability protections. The protections Congress is poised to enact "would immunize the drug industry from liability for vaccine and other treatment injuries in the event of a flu pandemic outbreak," the Center for Justice and Democracy said in a statement, citing opposition from groups including the National Public Health Association and Consumers Union.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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