"Having a stockpile of antiviral drugs is an important part of our pandemic influenza preparedness plan," Leavitt said. "These purchases are a continuation of our aggressive multi-pronged approach to a potentially critical public health challenge."
The HHS Pandemic Plan calls for the department, in concert with the Congress and in collaboration with the states, to ultimately acquire sufficient quantities of antiviral drugs to treat 25 percent of the
Today's acquisition announcement builds on the Administration's overall planning to increase pandemic preparedness. President Bush has outlined a coordinated government strategy that includes establishing the new International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, stockpiling antiviral medications, enhancing domestic capacity to develop and manufacture influenza vaccines and dose-sparing technology, expanding early-warning systems domestically and abroad and new funding and initiatives for local and state level preparedness.
In December 2005, Leavitt met with senior officials from all 50 states and launched a series of preparedness summits to be held in every state over the next several months with the goal of enhancing state and local preparedness. To date, pandemic preparedness summits have been held in 18 states including Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.