Medical Countermeasures are life-saving medications and medical supplies that are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They can be used to alleviate or treat adverse health effects from intentional, accidental, or naturally occurring public health emergencies. Medical Countermeasures can include biologic products such as vaccines and antibodies, drugs such as antimicrobial or antiviral drugs, and devices such as diagnostic tests, personal protective equipment, and ventilators. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides technical assistance for developing plans and exercising the ability to receive, distribute, and dispense medical countermeasures. As a part of Medical Countermeasure Readiness, the Cities Readiness Initiative and the Strategic National Stockpile programs were created to further enhance preparedness across the nation and provide a means to receive a variety of Medical Countermeasures quickly in the event of a public health emergency.
Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI)
The Cities Readiness Initiative is a federally funded program designed to enhance preparedness in nation’s largest population centers where more than 50% of the United States population resides. The Cities Readiness Initiative started in 2004 with 21 cities and now includes 72 cities and metropolitan statistical areas with at least one Cities Readiness Initiative city in every state. It is funded through the CDC Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement. The Cities Readiness Initiative jurisdictions work to develop, test, and maintain plans to receive and distribute life-saving medications and medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile to local communities following a large-scale public health emergency. Initially, the Cities Readiness Initiative was created specifically for anthrax events, but now includes other public health emergencies. Of Maryland’s 24 local health departments, 13 of them are Cities Readiness Initiative jurisdictions.
Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)
The Strategic National Stockpile is the nation’s largest supply of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. The stockpile ensures the right medicines and supplies are available when and where needed to save lives. When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that medicine and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. The Strategic National Stockpile is organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats. The repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously. The Strategic National Stockpile program is designed to supplement and resupply state and local inventories of medicines and supplies during emergencies severe enough to exhaust local supplies.