This year’s brutal flu season is finally beginning to ease up. But scammers selling dangerous or unapproved flu treatments are still in high gear. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday released a list of signs consumers should watch out for.
The FDA warns consumers to beware of unproven flu treatments. The agency also warns of websites masquerading as legitimate pharmacies. It says they often sell counterfeit antivirals.
“Unscrupulous actors may also be taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers by promoting their fraudulent products that have not been reviewed by the FDA to be safe and effective,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottleib said.
Products sold online may claim they can cure or prevent the flu. These claims should raise a red flag for consumers. Over-the-counter products may ease flu symptoms like fever, achy muscles or congestion. But the FDA points out that no over-the-counter drugs can prevent, treat or cure the flu.
The FDA urges consumers to look out for signs that an over-the-counter flu treatment is fraudulent. The FDA says treatments that make certain claims can waste money and even endanger lives.
Fake flu claims health scammers may use include:
Online pharmacies may claim to sell treatments like Tamiflu without a prescription. The FDA warns that such claims suggest fraud.
Fake pharmacies may sell counterfeit drugs. These may contain no active ingredient, the wrong ingredients or harmful substances.
Certain signs can give away a fraudulent online pharmacy. According to the FDA:
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