Houston Health Department

Strategic National Stockpile


What is the public health issue?

An act of terrorism or large scale natural disaster may require rapid access to large quantities of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. To address this issue, the Strategic National Stockpile serves as a national repository of antibiotics, chemical antidotes, antitoxins, life-support medications, and medical supplies. Key to its mission is the ability to deliver these life-saving products anywhere in the U.S. within 12 hours of the decision to deploy.  

What has CDC accomplished?

In 1999, Congress charged the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the establishment of the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile; later renamed the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). Since that time, the SNS Program has grown into a critical national resource with the following capabilities.

o Delivers "Push Packages" within 12 hours anywhere in the United States or its territories. Push Packages are caches of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies designed to provide rapid
delivery of a broad spectrum of medicines and supplies for an ill defined threat. -
o Delivers "Vendor Managed Inventory" (VMI) within 24 to 36 hours depending on the location of the incident. VMI pharmaceuticals and supplies are available if additional follow on product is needed or if the agent is sufficiently defined up front to know what specific medicines and supplies are needed.
o Deploys Technical Advisory Response Units (TARUs) to assist state and local officials in the efficient use and management of SNS assets upon their arrival at the site. Conducts outreach and
training to build state and local capacity to receive and manage SNS assets.

Additionally, the SNS Program provides on-going technical assistance to state and local health departments for the purposes of increasing their preparedness to effectively receive and manage SNS assets. This work includes performing routine readiness assessments as well as supporting local, state, national, and international emergency response exercises. To advance increased coordination and collaboration among the many emergency response participants, SNS routinely collaborates with numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations.  

What are the next steps?

CDC is committed to continuing the SNS Program and the critical role it plays in responding to catastrophic public health threats. In addition to the activities highlighted above, the SNS will continue to be heavily involved in supporting the Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI). This initiative is a multi-agency pilot project designed to build sufficient capacity to provide prophylaxis to 100 percent of a city’s population within 48 hours.  

For more detailed information about the SNS, visit http://www.bt.cdc.gov/stockpile

Adapted from U.S. Centers for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/programs/php09.htm