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FDA warns of H1N1 online drug sales

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers Thursday about online sales of drugs that are said to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure the H1N1 virus.

The FDA said it issued the warning after officials purchased and analyzed several products represented online as Tamiflu (oseltamivir), which may pose risks to patients.

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One of the orders, which arrived in an unmarked envelope with a postmark from India, consisted of unlabeled, white tablets taped between two pieces of paper.

"When analyzed by the FDA, the tablets were found to contain talc and acetaminophen, but none of the active ingredient oseltamivir," officials said, noting the Web site disappeared shortly after the FDA placed the order.

Federal officials also purchased four other products purported to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure the H1N1 influenza virus from other Web sites. Those products, officials said, contained various levels of oseltamivir, but they were not approved for use in the United States.

The two anti-viral drugs approved by the FDA for treatment and prophylaxis of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus are Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) and Relenza (zanamivir).

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