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Inefficient Anthrax Vaccine System Costly

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A lack of coordination between two U.S. government departments on the use of anthrax vaccine means that more than $100 million a year could be wasted, according to a Government Accountability Office report obtained by the Associated Press.

The departments of Defense and Health and Human Services (HHS) each buy the BioThrax vaccine. The Pentagon gives the vaccine to personnel going to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Korean peninsula, but much of the vaccine purchased by HHS sits in the Strategic National Stockpile and goes unused.

As of June, the stockpile had about 10 million anthrax vaccine doses and all will expire if not used. Currently, there are more than 520,000 expired doses of the anthrax vaccine, worth $12 million, in the stockpile, GAO investigators found.

They recommended that the Pentagon and HHS create a single inventory system to prevent vaccine from being wasted, the AP reported. However, both departments said legal issues prevent a vaccine-sharing agreement and contend that the GAO overestimated the amount of money lost.

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EmpowHER Guest

Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and animals. There are now effective vaccines against anthrax, and some forms of the disease respond well to antibiotic treatment.

May 24, 2014 - 8:34am
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