FDA Warns of Unapproved and Illegal H1N1 Drug Products Purchased Over the Internet

The U.S. Food and Drug AdministrationThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns consumers to use extreme care when purchasing any products over the Internet that claim to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure the H1N1 influenza virus. The warning comes after the FDA recently purchased and analyzed several products represented online as Tamiflu (oseltamivir), which may pose risks to patients.

One of the orders, which arrived in an unmarked envelope with a postmark from India, consisted of unlabeled, white tablets taped between two pieces of paper. When analyzed by the FDA, the tablets were found to contain talc and acetaminophen, but none of the active ingredient oseltamivir. The Web site disappeared shortly after the FDA placed the order. At the same time, the FDA also purchased four other products purported to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure the H1N1 influenza virus from other Web sites.

These products contained various levels of oseltamivir but were not approved for use in the United States. Several of the products purchased did not require a prescription from a health care professional. Additionally, the products did not arrive in a timely enough fashion to treat someone infected with the H1N1 influenza virus, or with an immediate exposure to the virus.

"Products that are offered for sale online with claims to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus must be carefully evaluated," said Commissioner of Food and Drugs Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. "Medicines purchased from Web sites operating outside the law put consumers at increased risk due to a higher potential that the products will be counterfeit, impure, contaminated, or have too little or too much of the active ingredient."

Consumers may not know exactly what they are getting when buying such antiviral products on the Internet from an unfamiliar company. Patients who buy prescription drugs from Web sites operating outside the law are at increased risk of suffering life-threatening adverse events, such as side effects from inappropriately using prescription medications, dangerous drug interactions, contaminated drugs, and impure or unknown ingredients found in unapproved drugs. This may particularly be the case in the event of a public health emergency, such as an influenza outbreak, where approved treatment options would be in high demand and expensive, and where drug shortages could occur.

Drugs that are in high demand are vulnerable to counterfeiting and diversion because buyers may be desperate to stock the product, and criminals capitalize on the situation.

The FDA urges consumers to only purchase FDA-approved products from licensed pharmacies located in the United States. Consumers should contact their health care provider if they have any questions or concerns about medical products or personal protective equipment.

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

Tamiflu and Relenza, in addition to their approved label, have Emergency Use Authorizations that describe specific authorized uses during this public health emergency.

The FDA actively monitors the Internet, and where appropriate, will purchase and analyze drug products.

Consumers can also visit FDA's Web site for tips about how to protect themselves when buying medicines online.

For further information, please visit:

Most Popular Now

Top 20 breaking World Pharma News of 2017

We are proud to announce the top 20 most popular breaking World Pharma News from 2017. Have a wonderful 2018 new(s) year filled with health, happiness, and spectacular su...

Novartis advances head-to-head superiority trials …

Novartis announced today the initiation of SURPASS, a head-to-head clinical trial of Cosentyx® (secukinumab) versus proposed biosimilar adalimumab** in ankylosing spondyl...

Roche and Ignyta reach definitive merger agreement

Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) and Ignyta, Inc. (NASDAQ: RXDX) today announced they have entered into a definitive merger agreement for Roche to fully acquire Ignyta ...

Diabetes drug 'significantly reverses memory loss…

A drug developed for diabetes could be used to treat Alzheimer's after scientists found it "significantly reversed memory loss" in mice through a triple method of action...

FDA updates the label of Tasigna to reflect that c…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today updated the product label for the cancer drug Tasigna (nilotonib) to include information for providers about how to discontinu...

Zika remains a research and public health challeng…

Since 2016, when Zika was declared by the World Health Organization as a public health emergency of international concern, the virus has become established in more than 8...

Sandoz regulatory submission for proposed biosimil…

Sandoz, a Novartis division and the global leader in biosimilar medicines, announced today that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted its Biologics Licen...

Try exercise to improve memory, thinking

For patients with mild cognitive impairment, don't be surprised if your health care provider prescribes exercise rather than medication. A new guideline for medical pract...

Dirt-dwelling microbe produces potential anti-mela…

A type of soil-dwelling bacterium produces molecules that induce death in melanoma cells, research at Oregon State University shows. The molecule is a secondary metabolit...

Novartis Kisqali® received FDA Breakthrough Therap…

Novartis today announced Kisqali® (ribociclib) received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Breakthrough Therapy designation for initial endocrine-based treatment of pr...

FDA approves first treatment for breast cancer wit…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today expanded the approved use of Lynparza (olaparib tablets) to include the treatment of patients with certain types of breast can...

Berry gives boost to cervical cancer therapy

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. One of the most...

Pharmaceutical Companies

[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Z ]