Swine flu internet drug purchase warning

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is warning consumers about the dangers of obtaining medicines for H1N1 influenza A online as cyber criminals could attempt to profit from the threat of a pandemic.

A recent Interpol statement said that between 3 and 4% of spam emails currently in circulation relate to H1N1 influenza A with hundreds of new web pages on the subject also appearing.

The MHRA believes this will include online offers for the sale of Tamiflu and/or Relenza, the anti-viral medicines available on prescription only.

The MHRA warned that the risk of obtaining substandard or counterfeit medicines is significantly increased when prescription-only medicines are purchased from unauthorised sources such as illegal online pharmacies. It urges the public not to buy such medicines online.

The MHRA is monitoring the internet sales of suspected counterfeit Tamiflu and Relenza.

neil.durham@haymarket.com

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