US buys more flu medicine, sends doses to Mexico

Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:33pm EDT

(For full coverage of flu outbreak, click [nFLU])

WASHINGTON, April 30 (Reuters) - The United States will spend $251 million to buy 13 million more courses of flu medicine and will send 400,000 doses of treatment to Mexico, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday.

"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," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

The drugs being purchased help fight influenza, including the 2009 H1N1 virus, also known as "swine flu," that has killed up to 176 people in Mexico and one in the United States.

The government has stockpiled about 50 million courses of antiviral drugs. State stockpiles across the country include another 23 million treatment courses.

The United States began moving the 400,000 treatment courses to Mexico on Thursday to help stop the spread of the virus. The 400,000 courses represent less than 1 percent of the total American stockpile.

(Reporting by Deborah Charles)

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