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FED: Swine flu sparks bogus online drug sales

06 May 2009 6:24 PM
Subject: FED: Swine flu sparks bogus online drug sales FED: Swine flu sparks bogus online drug sales

SYDNEY, May 6 AAP - Australians are being warned not to fall prey to internet scammers trying to cash in on fears about swine flu.

The Complementary Healthcare Council (CHC) and the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) says overseas-based websites are selling products they claim can treat, or even "cure", the H1N1 flu virus.

"These fraudulent products can present as supplements, food products, or products purporting to be drugs, devices or vaccines," the industry groups say in a joint statement.

"The public should be wary of internet sites and other promotions for products that claim to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus."

In some cases, the websites were offering standard vitamin supplements, claiming they had special powers to respond to the H1N1 virus.

In other cases, websites were offering drugs claimed to be generic copies, that are illegal, of the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

The CHC and ASMI warns these products were not proven to be "safe and effective" for these uses by Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

In cases where such websites were selling products sourced from Australia, the CHC and ASMI has urged "member companies to refuse to stock or sell them".

"The operators of these websites take advantage of the public's concerns about H1N1 influenza and their desire to protect themselves and their families," the two organisations said.

AAP dr/jl/cdh =0A

FED: Swine flu sparks bogus online drug sales