Beware of Online H1N1 Flu Swindles

October 7, 2009 8:50:54 PM PDT
Some online companies claim to have had a vaccine and even a cure for H1N1 months ago. But don't be fooled. Action News has details on products to protect you from the flu that officials say can be dangerous.Manuel Garcia at the Better Business Bureau says lots of companies claiming to cure or prevent the flu are popping up daily all over the internet. He says the BBB receives one to two calls a day from consumers asking his office to investigate online claims.

Garcia said, "We've heard from nasal sprays, down to injections to pills there's a variety of them online."

The Food and Drug Administration compiled a list of more than 80 websites that promote soaps and shampoos, to tea products and air systems.

"They are not approved by the FDA and to us that's pretty dangerous," said Garcia.

One product is a generic version of Tamiflu.

According to the Food and Drug Administration there is no generic form of Tamiflu, a drug used to treat the flu virus. In fact some of the pills confiscated by the FDA were made mostly of vitamin c.

David Luchini with the Fresno County Health Department says right now Tamiflu is a brand name, prescription medication only.

"If something says it's Tamiflu and it's over the counter and you can buy it off the shelf. It's probably not been regulated," said Luchini.

Officials say red flags you should look for are low prices; normally Tamiflu costs nearly $80 dollars per dose. Action News found a website that offers pills for five dollars apiece. You should also look for exaggerated claims, like something that claims to make you feel good, and guarantees that promise you will not get the H1N1 virus.

Officials say always check with your physician to find out how to properly protect yourself this flu season.

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