S.3799, the PREVENT Pandemics Act is undergoing a markup by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee this week. The legislation is designed to prepare for and respond to existing and emerging viruses and other health threats. The bipartisan bill, introduced by HELP Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC), aims to strengthen the nation’s public health and medical response systems and infrastructure.
The PREVENT Pandemics Act includes steps to:
- Improve strategy and coordination among public health preparedness agencies
- Strengthen supply chain and government stockpiles of medical products, such as masks, drugs, vaccines, and tests
- Ensure the CDC’s accountability and leadership by requiring a Senate-confirmed CDC Director and an agency-wide strategic plan
- Improve capabilities to detect and monitor emerging infectious disease and other threats, including updates to public health data to quickly provide comprehensive, actionable insight during public health emergencies
- Enhance the development and review of tests, treatments, and vaccines, and mitigate critical shortages of medical products
- Address disparities that make public health emergencies harder on at-risk populations and communities
Impact on General Dentistry: The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted dentistry and the oral health of the public, preventing routine oral health screenings and treatment at its height and indirectly leading to the shortage of masks and other supplies necessary to safely deliver oral health services. The AGD supports efforts to strengthen U.S. health systems to better prepare and respond to emerging health threats. The AGD is reviewing the PREVENT Pandemics Act for any changes that may have an outsize effect on general dentistry.