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Undersecretary Barbara AnthonyPosted by:
Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation

As is often the case when a particular issue becomes the focus of national attention, there’s been a recent outburst of products that aren’t just ineffective in fighting the flu and the H1N1 virus, they might actually be harmful.

The federal Food and Drug Administration has sent out a warning to consumers, pointing out the potential harm of unapproved products that claim to prevent, fight, or diagnose the infamous H1N1 flu virus. To get a rundown on potentially bogus products, check out the FDA’s interactive widget at the bottom of this post.

In the run-up to flu season, and the wait for H1N1 vaccines, the very contagious flu virus has captured the nation’s attention. And in doing so, it has brought in a series of questionable products that are not FDA-approved. According to the FDA, consumers should buy only approved products from licensed pharmacies. Tamiflu and Relenza are the only two FDA-approved antiviral drugs of H1N1.

If you buy a prescription drug from a Web site or other unapproved source, you run the risk of potential life-threatening side effects from bad medication, or dangerous drug interactions. The FDA has been aggressively pursuing Web dealers, but they continue to pop up.

As with most medical situations, discuss your concerns with your pharmacist or doctor, and make sure you buying medication from a legitimate, trusted source. And remember, wash your hands early and often with anti-bacterial soap or sanitizer, the best way to fight off germs during the upcoming flu season.

H1N1 Fraudulent Products

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Jayda Leder-Luis is the Communications Coordinator at the Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation.

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