FDA warns against buying H1N1 meds online

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Center for Disease Control is expected to release an update about the swine flu's spread across the nation. This comes with a new warning from the FDA about buying treatments online.

As demand for medications like Tamiflu and Relenza increases, hundreds of counterfeit products are being peddled.

A quick Google search will show you the products are available online. But the real question is, are they safe?

"They're on the internet, you can't miss them, absolutely," said consumer Cindy Colvin.

Unapproved and illegal h1n1 drug products are now available for sale on the internet. The Food and Drug Administration wants to make sure that you don't buy them.

In a sting operation, the FDA recently purchased and analyzed online products claiming to be Tamiflu -- but that's not what it was.

"We found people were selling pills that had no Tamiflu in it -- so if in fact people are relying on that instead of going to the doctor, they could end up in trouble," said Dr. Josh Sharfstein, FDA Deputy Commissioner.

And this is not just about medication. The FDA says amid swine flu fears, thousands of people are taking the bait and buying online products that claim to prevent and treat swine flu.

"We've seen everything from shampoos to hand washed to soaps and deeply penetrating megaforce energy waves marketed as effective against the flu," Sharfstein said.

The FDA's recommendation is that consumers only purchase FDA-approved products from licensed pharmacies located in the United States. Check with your health care provider if you have questions about a medical product.

You can look on the FDA's website for tips on how to protect yourself if you plan to buy medication online (see the link at right) or call 1-888-INFO-FDA.

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