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Warnings over counterfeit swine flu drugs

The RPSGB has issued a warning about the dangers of buying potentially counterfeit medicines to treat swine flu over the internet

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) has issued a warning about the dangers of buying potentially counterfeit medicines to treat swine flu over the internet.

David Pruce, the RPSGB's director of policy, warned that the current public fears over swine flu have created a golden opportunity for counterfeiters offering to sell antiretroviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza over the internet.

"In particular, the public should not be taken in by spam e-mails offering to supply Tamiflu or Relenza. Most of the drugs offered in this way turn out to be counterfeit and may contain anything from sugar to more dangerous substances that can seriously put health at risk," he said.

Using prescription-only medicine without a prescription from a healthcare practitioner can be dangerous – the medicine may not be suitable for a particular individual and could lead to unpleasant side-effects or serious health risks.

Roche, who manufacture Tamiflu, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the manufacturers of Relenza, have confirmed that stocks of the drugs are available to governments should they be required.

29th April 2009

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