FDA warns of generic Tamiflu

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released a warning about a potentially harmful product representing itself as "Generic Tamiflu" sold over the Internet.

The generic Tamiflu does not contain oseltamivir, the active ingredient in Tamiflu, and instead relies on cloxacillin, which is an ingredient in the same class of antibiotics as penicillin. The FDA has not approved any generic drug for the prescription Tamiflu.

The FDA procured the fraudulent generic Tamiflu from a Web site that claimed to be an online drugstore. The Web site is no longer in operation, though the FDA warns generic Tamiflu is likely to be found for sale on other Web sites.

“A rogue Internet website marketing drug products may look like a professional and legitimate website, but may actually be an illegal operation,” Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., commissioner of food and drugs, said. “Medicines purchased from websites 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.”

The FDA has warned that patients who suffer adverse reactions from penicillin at risk of experiencing similar reactions from cloxacillin, including sudden, potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis, which includes difficulty breathing, chest tightness, swelling of the throat or tongue, hives, dizziness, loss of consciousness, or a rapid or weak pulse.