Monday, May 4, 2009

Fake Swine Flu Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) have announced that the public should be cautious
about products said to prevent, treat or cure the Swine Flu virus,
saying use of unauthorized or unapproved products could put people's
health at risk.

The government agencies say that they are "aggressively" investigating
phony flu products and/or claims.

The Canadian government made an official announcement on its website
that warned the public that although there are two anti-viral drugs
that could help prevent or reduce symptoms of the flu - including
Tamiflu (oseltamivir) or Relenza (zanamivir) - there are NO products
that are approved for direct sale to the public that would
specifically treat or guard against the H1N1 flu virus. Tamiflu and
Relenza are available only by prescription via a doctor or authorized
medical professional. The Canadians also caution that the medicines be
given only when the illness is diagnosed as being "moderate" or
"severe" and if the patient is at high risk of complications of flu -
such as existing respiratory ailments. The agency states that if taken
within 48 hours after getting sick, Tamiflu or Relenza can help reduce
symptoms, shorten the length of illness and potentially reduce serious

The Canadian health agency is also warning against claims for
"generic" versions of Tamiflu or Relenza, saying no such generics have
been approved and that such products could have dangerous additives in
them. The agency states that consumers should be very wary of buying
drugs over the Internet. For example, an online provider such as offers a package of 30, 10-milligram capsules of
Tamiflu for $88.65. At a "herbal alternative to Tamiflu"
called Defend-Rx is being advertised for $24.98 for a supply of 45
tablets. The site says the demand has been so heavy that they are
currently out of stock. But, the site claims that the product is "the
world's only natural weapon against bird flu (Avian Flu). But, it also
claims the ingredients in the product are "the main component in

The FTC suggests that the public report any suspected fraudulent Swine
Flu products to the FDA at
Also, anyone who wants to file a complaint against a company that they
think is trying to advertise or sell swine flu products can call the
FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP.