Cover: Military Use of Drugs Not Yet Approved by the FDA for CW/BW Defense

Military Use of Drugs Not Yet Approved by the FDA for CW/BW Defense

Lessons from the Gulf War

Published 1999

by Richard A. Rettig

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The confrontation that began when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990 brought with it the threat that chemical and biological weapons might be used against the more than half a million military personnel the United States deployed to the region. To protect these troops from such threats, the Department of Defense wished to use drugs and vaccines that, not having been tested for use in these specific situations, were considered “investigational” by the federal Food and Drug Administration. This report examines the history of the Interim Rule, adopted in December 21, 1990, that authorized the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to waive informed consent for the use of investigational drugs and vaccines for certain military uses; how this authority was used for pyridostigmine bromide and botulinum toxoid during the Gulf War; and the subsequent controversy surrounding the rule, its application, and its implications. The report then analyzes the issues the Interim Rule raised when investigational drugs are used for such purposes and makes recommendations for dealing with similar situations in the future.

This research was sponsored by the RAND National Security Research Division and RAND Health.

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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