The active ingredient in fake Tamiflu sold over the Internet is a penicillin-related antibiotic called cloxacillin that can be dangerous to people who are allergic to penicillin, warns the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
To date, the agency has not received any reports of people suffering adverse reactions due to the fake "Generic Tamiflu." There is no FDA-approved generic version of Tamiflu, the flu-fighting antiviral medication.
The FDA bought the bogus product without a prescription from a Web site that claimed to be an online drugstore. The fake Tamiflu arrived in an envelope postmarked from India. That particular Web site is no longer operational but other sites may still be selling "Generic Tamiflu," the FDA said.
"A rogue Internet Web site marketing drug products may look like a professional and legitimate Web site, but may actually be an illegal operation," FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg said in an agency news release. "Medicines purchased from Web sites operating outside the law put consumers at increased risk due to a higher potential that the products will be counterfeit, impure, contaminated, or have too little or too much of the active ingredient."