Feds Crack Down on H1N1 Fraud

October 21st, 2009 | Sources: FDA, Reuters

The FDA has been on a seek and destroy mission against Web sites that distribute products it has not approved for use in the fight against H1N1.

Since May in fact, the agency has warned at least 75 Web sites to stop selling more than 135 products with fraudulent claims of efficacy against H1N1.

lookin'outforfraudThe FDA’s latest move in this regard has been to issue a joint warning letter, along with the FTC, to a Web site that markets fraudulent supplements claiming to help prevent spread of the virus.

The letter advises the Web site owners to cease and desist within 48 hours or else face the heavy hand of the law, which could include an injunction by the FTC and seizure of products, an injunction or criminal prosecution by the FDA.

To date, the FDA has identified all sorts of bogus H1N1 products, including:
– A shampoo claiming to protect against H1N1,
– A dietary supplement claiming to protect infants and children from H1N1,
– A supplement claiming to cure H1N1 in 4-8 hours,
– A spray claiming to leave a layer of ionic silver on one’s hands that kills the virus
– Several tests claiming to detect the virus, and
– An electronic instrument costing thousands of dollars claiming to use “photobiotic energy” and “deeply penetrating mega-frequency life-force energy waves” to strengthen the immune system and prevent symptoms associated with H1N1.

“Products that are offered for sale with claims to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus must be carefully evaluated,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. Such products can “make matters worse by providing consumers with a false sense of protection,” she added.

The FDA has approved 2 anti-viral drugs for treatment and prophylaxis of the 2009 H1N1: Tamiflu and Relenza.  It has also issued Emergency Use Authorizations that extend their approved labeling to additional, specific authorized uses as the pandemic spreads.


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