The FDA recently bought five different products advertised online as "Tamiflu" or as treatments for the 2009 H1N1 swine flu.
Some of the pills contained only talc and acetaminophen. Some had various amounts of oseltamivir, the active ingredient in Tamiflu. None was the real thing; all are illegal in the U.S.
Moreover, all the fake "Tamiflu" products arrived by mail too late to do any good -- even if they had been the real thing.
"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," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, says in a news release.
There are only two drugs approved by the FDA for treatment of H1N1 swine flu: Tamiflu and Relenza. Both drugs are available only by prescription.