Why the Strategic National Stockpile isn't meant to solve a crisis like coronavirus - Bio-Defense Network
Mar 2020

Why the Strategic National Stockpile isn’t meant to solve a crisis like coronavirus

NBC’s Sarah Fitzpatrick reported on Saturday that as health care workers around the country labor under shortages of personal protective equipment, all eyes are on the Strategic National Stockpile — the country’s largest repository of drugs and medical equipment for use in a public health crisis.

But the U.S. strategic stockpile isn’t intended to be the solution to a crisis. It’s designed to be used as a stopgap during emergencies. The stockpile has limited resources, government officials and public health experts say, which weren’t at full capacity even before the coronavirus was on the horizon.

“The Strategic National Stockpile is not designed to be the sole solution to these problems,” said Greg Burel, who directed the stockpile program for more than 21 years until his long-planned retirement in January. He said the shortages of personal protective equipment across the country — and the fact that states already need items from the stockpile — illustrate a systemwide failure in American health care.

We at Bio-Defense Network agree with Greg, but we wich planners had moved more quickly to restock the SNS as the pandemic began to spread from China in early 2020.

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