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Why Does America Have a Strategic National Stockpile?

If you’ve never heard of America’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), you’re not alone. The SNS is the nation’s largest supply of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in public health emergencies that are severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. Because many of the supplies required to stock the SNS have limited commercial value, they are manufactured and purchased just for the stockpile. That way, America is always prepared. 

We don’t know what the next crisis will be, but as we have seen during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the SNS’s critical role in supplementing state and local supplies during such public health emergencies cannot be overstated. Yet while the list of demands on the SNS has grown over the last several years, the budget has not.



While the global COVID-19 pandemic has brought new attention to the importance of a well-funded SNS, pandemic preparedness is not the only threat the stockpile is designed to protect against.

The SNS also maintains stockpiles of supplies in the event of a...​
✓ Bioterrorist Attack
✓ Nuclear Attack
✓ Chemical Attack
✓ Radiological Attack
✓ Infectious Disease Outbreak
Unfortunately, these threats are real and growing. And there are limited commercial markets for many of the critical products used to protect against these types of attacks. Without advanced development and stockpile funding, companies have neither the incentive nor the ability to invest in these types of life-saving therapies.

Robust stockpiling ensures America is prepared.

Does the Strategic National Stockpile Need Reform?

The Alliance for Biosecurity supports efforts to restock and revamp the SNS in order to improve inventory management and distribution systems and to ensure the right supplies are stocked. 

This includes...

  1. Distinguishing between the stockpiling of medical countermeasures with no commercial use, like anthrax, smallpox and Ebola treatments, from off-the-shelf medical countermeasures for which there is a commercial market, like personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators. 
  2. Appropriations from Congress that reach funding levels proposed and validated by the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE). 
  3. Supporting public-private partnerships that work to develop and increase availability of medical countermeasures in order to support global health security. 
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