FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2009
Contact: HHS Press Office
U.S. to Provide Antiviral Medication to Latin America and the Caribbean for Novel H1N1 Influenza
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that the United States will provide 420,000 treatment courses of Tamiflu (Oseltamavir) to the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to fight the novel H1N1 influenza in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Secretary made the announcement while attending a series of high-level meetings for health ministers throughout the Americas in Cancun, Mexico.
“The U.S is committed to supporting and enhancing the health security in the region by reducing transmission and severity of illness,” Sebelius told officials in Cancun. “Viruses know no borders. The U.S. recognizes that a novel virus such as the H1N1 is a burden borne by all nations, and all of us have a responsibility to help support one another in the face of this challenge.”
On June 23, HHS received a request from PAHO to partner with the U.S government to increase the PAHO stockpile of Tamiflu in the regional stockpile available for Latin America and the Caribbean countries. PAHO is working to ensure that its member countries have the capacity and resources to respond to outbreaks of H1N1.
HHS holds approximately 50 million courses of antiviral medications in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). In April, HHS deployed 11 million treatment courses from the SNS to the states across the country to fight the H1N1 influenza. Since then, HHS has purchased antiviral drugs to replenish the SNS along with an additional 2 million treatment courses.
The United States supports the goal of improving access to vaccines and antiviral drugs for developing countries, particularly in the context of public-health emergencies as part of its broader commitment to protect global public health. The United States has provided significant support to the World Health Organization’s vaccine programs and will continue to work to support international partners and developing nations around the world.
Transmission of the virus within the region and throughout the Americas is a significant U.S. health security concern because of the vast amount of travel and commerce in the hemisphere.
The U.S is working closely with the World Health Organization and PAHO to monitor the virus in the southern hemisphere. The information collected will assist the U.S in making future decisions about the use of vaccine, antiviral medications and the steps needed to protect our communities.
For more information about the U.S. response to the novel H1N1 outbreak, visit www.cdc.gov. To learn more about what organizations, businesses, families, and individuals can do to protect themselves from pandemic flu, visit www.pandemicflu.gov.
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Last revised: May 7, 2011