Kathleen Sebelius, sworn in as U.S. Health and Human Services secretary April 29, 2009

U.S. Adding 13 Million Courses of Antivirals to Stockpile

Kathleen Sebelius, federal Health and Human Services secretary, announced Thursday the government is buying 13 million additional courses of antivirals to fight influenze and also has begun sending 400,000 courses to Mexico to help health officials there combat the H1N1 flu.

"As this flu virus outbreak expands across the country, we have been taking necessary steps to ensure states have the resources they need," said Sebelius, who was sworn in to head HHS on April 29. "The 13 million additional treatment courses that we will purchase will allow us to replenish our national stockpile and further ensure we are prepared to provide the American people with the treatments they may need to stay healthy."

HHS released 11 million treatment courses recently to the states. Her agency said the two actions will cost HHS an estimated $251 million, both to refill the Strategic National Stockpile with 11 million treatment courses to replace those offered to states and to by 2 million more.

"Flu viruses don't stop at the border, and it is imperative we do whatever we can to slow the spread of the virus and help stop this outbreak," Sebelius said.

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