HHS awards contract for radiation countermeasures

The Health and Human Services Department on Monday announced a Project Bioshield contract for two radiological countermeasures.

The five-year, $21.9 million contract was awarded to Akorn, Inc., which is expected to deliver 390,000 doses of Ca-DTPA (Pentetate Calcium Trisodium Injection Sterile Solution) and 60,000 doses of its Zn-DTPA (Pentetate Zinc Trisodium Injection Sterile Solution). These drugs combat internal exposure to plutonium, americium, and curium, according to an HHS statement.

The number of doses requested by HHS is based upon a threat assessment of the medical affects of a nuclear or radiological attack by the Homeland Security Department as well as the interagency Weapons of Mass Destruction Medical Countermeasures Subcommittee.

Under the contract, an additional 500,000 does of each drug can be purchased.

"Protecting the American public in a radiological or nuclear incident is a major priority of my office and Project Bioshield in particular," said HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness Stewart Simonson. "Today's contract award is part of our effort to expand the nation's stockpile of medical countermeasures against this threat."

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