The FDA is warning consumers to use extreme care when purchasing products over the Internet that claim to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure the H1N1 (swine) influenza virus. This warning comes after the FDA recently purchased and analyzed several products represented online as Tamiflu (oseltamivir, from Roche), which may pose risks to patients. When analyzed by the FDA, one of the orders placed was found to contain talc and acetaminophen, but none of the active ingredient oseltamivir. Four other products purchased by the FDA contained various levels of oseltamivir but were not approved for use in the U.S. Several of the products did not require a prescription to be purchased. Additionally, the products did not arrive in a timely fashion to treat someone infected with H1N1 influenza virus, or with an immediate exposure to the virus.

The FDA urges consumers to only purchase FDA-approved products from licensed pharmacies located in the U.S. Consumers should contact their healthcare professional if they have any questions or concerns.

The two antiviral drugs approved by the FDA for treatment and prophylaxis of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus are Tamiflu and Relenza (zanamivir, from GlaxoSmithKline).

For more information visit www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm186861.htm.