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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Sustaining the Stockpile

Sustaining the stockpile involves managing the entire life cycle of stockpile assets as well as acquiring, storing, and transporting supplies.

Stockpile management includes:

  • Overseeing the shelf life of medicines to ensure the stock is rotated and kept within U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) potency shelf-life limits
  • Conducting routine quality assurance on all products
  • Performing annual inventory of all products
  • Inspecting environmental conditions, security, and package maintenance
  • Ensuring stockpile holdings are based on the latest scientific data and threat levels
  • Ensuring the ability to transport items during a public health emergency

Shelf Life Extension Program

The stockpile participates in the Federal Shelf Life Extension Program (for federal stockpiles) which is managed by the Department of Defense and the FDA. Once the FDA conducts stability testing and determines that products are stable and safe for continued use, the program will extend the use-by dates of pharmaceuticals beyond their original expiration dates. Testing typically provides an added 12 to 24 months of extended shelf life. More testing can lead to even longer extensions. Products that fail FDA testing are removed from stockpile inventory.

Participation in the Shelf Life Extension Program requires:

  • Tracking the expiration date and manufacturer lot numbers of eligible products
  • Coordinating the shipment of products to FDA for stability testing
  • Receiving and tracking FDA testing results for each lot of product
  • Disposing of and replacing product lots that have failed FDA testing

Inventory Management and Tracking System

The CDC Inventory Management and Tracking System (IMATS) helps state and local public health agencies track medical countermeasure inventory and supplies during daily operations or an all-hazards event. IMATS is one of three web-based applications that comprise CDC’s Countermeasure Tracking Systems (CTS) program. The valuable information supplied by CTS helps health officials know when and where to deploy countermeasures to most effectively protect persons at risk.

During the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic event, information used to make critical decisions on allocating and distributing antiviral drugs and personal protective equipment was difficult to obtain. As a result, the stockpile collaborated with CDC’s Health Informatics and Surveillance to build the nationwide Inventory Management and Tracking System. The vision of IMATS is to increase the capacity of all levels of public health to track and manage inventory of medical countermeasures during daily operations or an event requiring emergency response.​

  • This page last reviewed: December 12, 2018