This year’s influenza epidemic has affected thousands. Over 2,700 influenza positive tests have been reported as of March 7th for the 2013-2014 season reports the CDC. As flu season slowly comes to a close, drug counterfeiters are still racing to market their fake flu cures, which will not cure influenza. Don’t be fooled by fake cures: find out what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from them.
Every year, new companies pop up online offering natural supplements and other flu cures that make all manner of claims.
- In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned the company that produces GermBullet for advertising claims that were untested, including that the product had been “laboratory tested and shown to reduce illness-causing bacteria, cold and flu viruses and fungi.”
- In January 2014, FDA warned NatureAll-STF Holding that its supplement products were misbranded and marketed as unapproved new drugs. They claimed one product, Colostrum, “helps fight off viruses, bacteria, toxins, and parasites,” because it is “Mother Nature’s most powerful natural antibiotic!”
- Counterfeit Tamiflu, a prescription-only antiviral used in the first 48 hours of Influenza infection, turns up for sale on fake online pharmacies with startling regularity. In 2012 Operation Pangea V found thousands of websites offering Tamiflu for sale without a prescription.
In order to help patients distinguish counterfeit from authentic Tamiflu, the manufacturer has created a website that offers a clear description of the drug and packaging. It advises consumers to “purchase only from US state-licensed pharmacies where FDA and state authorities can assure the quality of drug manufacturing, packaging, distribution, and labeling.”
American patients need to use their smarts when looking for flu treatments online. The FDA advises consumers “to steer clear of fraudulent flu products, which can be found online and in retail stores and may include products marketed as dietary supplements or conventional foods, drugs, nasal sprays and devices.” They also advise consumers that getting an annual influenza vaccine is the best protection against becoming ill with the flu.
So follow FDA advice on getting vaccine. If you do get sick, take good care of yourself and don’t be fooled by too-good-to-be-true flu cures.