U.S. to Provide Antiviral Medication to Latin America and the Caribbean for Swine Flu Outbreak
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
"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
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
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.