Saturday, December 03, 2005

GOP Acts On Secret Biotech Agency Exempt From Oversight



GOP Lawmakers Propose Forming Secretive Federal Agency to Spur Vaccine Development

The proposed Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency, or BARDA, would be exempt from long-standing open records and meetings laws that apply to most government departments, according to legislation approved Oct. 18 by the Senate health committee.

...The agency would provide the funding for development of treatments and vaccines to protect the United States from natural pandemics as well as chemical, biological and radiological agents.

But it is the secrecy and immunity provisions of the legislation that have alarmed patient rights and open government advocates. The agency would be exempt from the Freedom of Information and Federal Advisory Committee acts, both considered crucial for monitoring government accountability.

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