Reuters (November 16, 2009)
"Criminal gangs are making millions of dollars out of the H1N1 flu pandemic by selling fake flu drugs over the internet, a web security firm said on Monday.
"Sophos, a British security software firm said it had intercepted hundreds of millions of fake pharmaceutical spam adverts and websites this year, many of them trying to sell counterfeit antiviral drugs like Tamiflu to worried customers.
"Tamiflu, an antiviral marketed by Switzerland's Roche Holding and known generically as oseltamivir, is the frontline drug recommended by the World Health Organization to treat and slow the progression of flu symptoms. GlaxoSmithKline makes another antiviral for flu, known as Relenza...."
Taking Advantage of Panicky PeopleAdjectives like "disgusting" come to the Lemming's mind. More to the point, stocking up on Tamiflu, or some other drug, by buying it online can be dangerous. In several ways. Aside from the non-trivial matter of identity theft (the ersatz online pharmacies will want your credit card number and personal information, of course), there's the guessing game of 'what's in the pill?'
Me? I enjoy breathing, so it's not likely that I'd pop pills I got from some anonymous outfit I found on the Web.
But it Says "Canadian Pharmacy:" It Must be OkayFrom the sounds of it, this lot of online fake pharmacists are a cut or two above the usual run of linguistically-challenged spammers:
"...Sophos said criminal gangs were operating medicines websites branded as the 'Canadian Pharmacy' to try to appear genuine.
"It said its research showed that on one network operated out of Russia, called Glavmed, it was possible to earn an average of $16,000 a day promoting pharmaceutical websites...."
That could be rough on real Canadian pharmacies, as word gets around that pill pushers are using that name as a front for a crooked operation.
H1N1 Pandemic: Sensible Advice Sounds So DullI think part of the problem with reacting to the H1N1 pandemic is that what outfits like the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) say we should do sound so dull.
Like the CDC's "CDC Says 'Take 3' Actions To Fight The Flu" ("These actions will protect against 2009 H1N1 too!"). All it boils down to is:
- "Take time to get a flu vaccine."
- That's just standing in line and getting poked with a needle.
- Boring and uncomfortable.
- "Take everyday preventive actions."
- "Aww - it's just stuff like 'use a tissue when you sneeze' and 'wash your hands.'
- And reminds people of advice Mom used to give.
- "Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor recommends them."
- This, at least, can be made exciting.
- Pretend all doctors are in on that worldwide conspiracy - you know, the one involving
- The Illuminati
- Space aliens
- Or make up your own
About the conspiracies: No, I don't think space aliens and the Grateful Dead joined forces with the Illuminati and [insert your favorite secret bogeyman here] to bring the world to its knees through control of Tamiflu.
But it would make a great story.
List of posts relating to Swine flu 2009; and list of background resources: