Counterfeit Tamiflu sold on Internet puts consumers at risk

June 23, 2010

FDA notified consumers and healthcare professionals that a product represented as "Generic Tamiflu" being sold on the Internet does not contain Tamiflu's active ingredient, oseltamivir, but cloxacillin, an ingredient in the same class of antibiotics as penicillin.

FDA notified consumers and healthcare professionals that a product represented as “Generic Tamiflu” being sold on the Internet does not contain Tamiflu’s active ingredient, oseltamivir, but cloxacillin, an ingredient in the same class of antibiotics as penicillin. This puts patients allergic to penicillin products at risk of experiencing similar reactions from cloxacillin.

One result of this includes anaphylaxis, a sudden, potentially life-threatening reaction with symptoms that include difficulty breathing, chest tightness, swelling of the throat or tongue, hives, dizziness, loss of consciousness, or rapid or weak pulse.

FDA was able to purchase the fraudulent drug without a prescription from a website purporting to be an online drugstore. The site is no longer in operation; however, the drug is likely to be found for sale on other websites.

Trusted Internet pharmacies are licensed by the appropriate U.S. Board of Pharmacy and follow the applicable laws and regulations. Consumers should know that the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Verified Internet Pharmacy Sites Seal, also known as VIPPS Seal, gives a seal of approval to pharmacy sites that apply and meet state licensure requirements.

FDA advises anyone possessing or encountering any of these fraudulent Tamiflu drugs not to use them and to contact FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations by visiting the OCI website (http://www.fda.gov/OCI).

Consumers are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

Online: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/medwatch-online.htm
Phone: 1-800-332-1088
Mail: return the postage-paid FDA form 3500, which may be downloaded from the MedWatch "Download Forms" page, to address on the pre-addressed form
Fax: 1-800-FDA-0178