Report says Homeland Security is Not Prepared for Pandemic
A federal investigation has found that the DHS is totally "ill-prepared" for a pandemic.
In 2006, said CNN, Congress gave DHS $47 million to prepare for a national medical crisis. DHS spent millions on this equipment that might now be completely worthless, missing or unnecessary.
A federal audit found more than 4,000 bottles of expired hand sanitizer in storage with the DHS. Many of those bottles have been expired for up to four years. In addition, said CNN, some 81% of the antiviral drugs the DHS has will expire by the end of next year. And 100% of the Tamiflu is set to expire in 2015. Some 46% of the Relenza DHS has will expire then as well. The department's entire respirator stockpile has reached, or will soon reach, the manufacturer's date of usability, CNN said.
Overall, DHS failed to keep good records about what it purchased and what it received, according to the report. That may be why the government had to report a secondary stockpile containing 25,000 surgical masks and hand sanitizer as "lost."
The report concluded "it is imperative that DHS be prepared to continue mission-essential operations should a pandemic occur," and yet it found that DHS didn't develop a clear plan on how to replenish their stockpiles of equipment. Nor did they have a good way to keep a good control over their inventory to monitor expiration dates on material.
"DHS is responsible for ensuring it is adequately prepared to continue critical operations in the event of a pandemic," Inspector General John Roth said in a news release.
DHS agreed with all 11 suggestions the Inspector General's Office made to improve the program, CNN said, and will assign an office to oversee the supplies and develop an adequate strategy for making sure the material stays current. It has applied for a shelf life extension with the Food and Drug Administration to extend the expiration dates on the antiviral medicine it has that will expire in 2015.