Bloomberg Law
Dec. 10, 2020, 9:00 AM

The Future of U.S. National Stockpile Isn’t a Bigger Stockpile

Shira Stein
Shira Stein

This spring, as overwhelmed doctors and nurses struggled to find protective gear while they treated Covid-19 patients, many Americans learned for the first time about a previously obscure government stash divided among secret warehouses across the country: the Strategic National Stockpile.

The stockpile was created in 1998 to hold drugs and vaccines in case of a biological or chemical threat to the U.S. Over time, it’s also added personal protective equipment—such as masks and gowns—as well as antibiotics, emergency medicines, and, recently, testing supplies like nasal swabs.

During the initial coronavirus surge, governors requested supplies from the federal stockpile—and ...

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