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Summary

Despite substantial investments since the events of 2001, much work remains to prepare the nation for a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attack or to respond to an emerging infectious disease threat. Following a 2010 review of the US Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise, FDA launched its Medical Countermeasures initiative (MCMi) to facilitate the development and availability of medical products to counter CBRN and emerging disease threats. As a regulatory agency, FDA has a unique and critical part to play in this national undertaking. Using a three-pillar approach, FDA is addressing key challenges associated with the regulatory review process for medical countermeasures; gaps in regulatory science for MCM development and evaluation; and issues related to the legal, regulatory and policy framework for an effective public health response. Filling the gaps in the MCM Enterprise is a huge national undertaking, requiring the collaboration of all stakeholders, including federal partners, current and prospective developers of medical countermeasures, relevant research organizations, and state and local responders. Especially critical to success are an appreciation of the long timelines, risks and high costs associated with developing medical countermeasures – and the systems to deliver them – and the requisite support of all stakeholders, including national leadership.