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US Food & Drug Administration warns that the generic version of Tamiflu which is now commonly sold on the internet is phoney and can spark a harmful reaction when consumed, in certain people.
Tests conducted by the FDA revealed that the fake product contained cloxacillin, which is an ingredient in the same class of antibiotics as penicillin, whereas Tamiflu's active ingredient is Oseltamivir.
This unlabelled product can be life threating to those who are allergic to penicillin. The symptoms include difficulty in breathing, chest tightness, loss of consciousness, hives, dizziness, swelling of the throat or tongue or a rapid or weak pulse.
FDA investigators bought the fraudulent “Generic Tamiflu” without a prescription online. In legitimate pharmacies, Tamiflu is never sold without a prescription.
Later, 30 yellow and tan capsules in a two foil blister pack arrived in an envelope which was postmarked India.
Although this 75 mg pack claimed to contain Oseltamivir phosphate capsules, tests proved otherwise.
Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D, FDA Commissioner said, "Medicines purchased from websites 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."
Currently, the FDA is closely monitering the web to check sales of these unapproved drugs to protect the public, but the rapid increase in number of sites trafficking these phoney drugs requires one to remain alert.