Categorized | Product Safety

FDA Warns Against Online Flu Treatment Purchases

The Wall Street Journal (2/16, A2, Rockoff, Subscription Publication) reported that the Food and Drug Administration is warning patients to avoid so-called “generic Tamiflu” and other unapproved flu treatment products. The Journal quotes from an FDA Voice blog in which the agency’s National Health Fraud Coordinator Gary Coody said, “We want people to take effective preventive measures against the flu. Not only could they be getting something totally ineffective, they could have a false sense of protection.”

NBC News (2/19, Carroll) on its website added that Coody said the unapproved anti-flu products “could contain the wrong medications. In the past we’ve tested products purported to be Tamiflu and found acetaminophen alone or penicillin derivatives – and those could pose some serious problems.”

Reuters (2/15, Clarke) noted that the FDA on its website posted copies of letters sent to dietary-supplement suppliers, warning them about making false and misleading claims about their products’ antiviral abilities. The letters were sent to Discount Online Pharmacy, Kosher Vitamin Express, Medsnoscript, Oasis Consumer Healthcare LLC, Secure Medical Inc, Sun Drug Store, Vitalmax Vitamins, and University of Berkley. In the Voice Blog, Coody added that the recipients of six, similar letters the agency sent earlier this month, have corrected their marketing claims.

In addition, the CBS News (2/19, Jaslow) reports on its website that the University of Berkley has now removed its “website selling the Berkley-Body-Immune Flu Prevention product,” which had claimed it was “the most effective alternative to the flu shot.” Meanwhile, if the remaining dietary-supplement suppliers “don’t respond in writing to the FDA’s warning letter within 15 days, the agency threatened legal action.”


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