| Yesterday, the Federal Trade
Commission issued warnings to companies for selling products with "questionable
claims that their products can prevent, treat, or cure the H1N1 flu, commonly
known as swine flu." The Internet is a great place to save money but nothing
replaces seeing your doctor and getting the right products from a reputable
The problem with ordering items on the
Internet is that you may not get what you really ordered. Anyone can buy a
tablet press, the machine commonly used for making medications, vitamin and
even candy. These machines compress powders with so much force that a hard
tablet is created. Custom metal press dies can be ordered in any shape or even
made in small in-home metalworking shops, including with an imprint to look
like the real medication. In the case of Tamiflu , the shape and even
color pattern of the yellow and white pill can easily be copied using a tablet
press, sugar, cellulose and food coloring. Other pills in high demand in the
black market because of embarrassment, thrills or the demand for an inexpensive
generic version are medications like Viagra . In either case, these pills
can be easily copied and sold to unsuspecting people. Making maters worse,
unscrupulous people may put items into the fake pills such as ginseng which may
give some people an energy boost; or flour because it is cheaper than sugar,
but some people unfortunately have bad allergic reactions making to those
unlisted additives, thus making those cheap meds deadly to some.
These fake meds are not regulated and in some cases
a fake pharmacy website may require you to fax in a prescription just to fool
you, but that does not mean you are working with a legitimate pharmacy. Many
website operators work very hard to make their websites look legitimate but
aren't. Be especially concerned with websites offering limited products,
especially those offering just a few medications which have no generic
equivalents as scammers know these are the high price items people want and
will buy at a discount. Also beware of Internet auctions for medications as
these may be highly illegal.
Your safest bet is
buying medications from a local pharmacy which you can walk into and speak to a
pharmacist. Knowing your pharmacy and the people who work there allows you to
develop a relationship with that pharmacy over time, and they will answer all
of your questions about the medications you take, including about drug
interactions and if taking an over the counter medication is acceptable
considering the other medications you may be taking. Also, if you use one local
pharmacy exclusively, the pharmacists will be able to monitor your medications
and make sure there are no bad interactions your doctor may have missed.
Pharmacists are trained medical professionals. The can catch problems and they
will keep your personal medical information private, something that may not
happen if you unknowingly buy from an oversees fake pharmacy, not to mention
what can happen if unscrupulous people get your credit card number.
Tamiflu is the
trademark of Roche Laboratories Inc.
the trademark of Pfizer Inc.