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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Flu Pandemic Counterfeit Antiviral Drugs Making Scammers Rich
November 16, 2009

Flu Pandemic Counterfeit Antiviral Drugs Making Scammers Rich

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Flu Pandemic Counterfeit Antiviral Drugs Making Scammers Rich

Sophos, a British security software firm has said it has intercepted hundreds of millions of fake pharmaceutical spam adverts and websites this year, with many of them trying to sell counterfeit antiviral drugs like Tamiflu.

Tamiflu is an antiviral marketed by Switzerland's Roche Holding and known generically as Oseltamivir and 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.

Sophos said many of the gangs behind the websites were based in Russia and the top five countries buying fake Tamiflu and other medicines on the internet were the United States, Germany, Britain, Canada and France.

"The criminal gangs working behind the scenes at fake internet pharmacies are putting their customers' health, personal information and credit card details at risk."

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.

"But the criminals can be members of more than one affiliate network, and some have boasted of earning more than $100,000 per day," it said in a statement.

The pandemic H1N1 flu virus has now spread to 206 countries since it was first discovered in March. There have been more than 6,250 deaths to date, mostly in the Americas.

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