In light of the proliferation of products marketed on the internet that claim to protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu virus, the US Food and Drug Administration in October launched a campaign targeting unapproved products. As of December 2, it has updated its searchable list, with more categories and products making fraudulent claims.

According to the agency, a growing number of consumer products, including personal care products, dietary supplements and food products, medications and medical devices, as well as vaccines are being marketed using false claims that they will curb the effects of the virus. The FDA has urged consumers to be cautious when purchasing such products and to only purchase FDA-approved products from legitimate sources.

"Unless these products and the claims they make are proven to be safe and effective, they will not prevent the transmission of the virus or offer effective remedies against infection," said FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg in a statement.

"Furthermore, they can make matters worse by providing consumers with a false sense of protection."

The agency also notes that while some of the products on its list may have been cleared and approved by the FDA for other medical uses, they are not not approved for the diagnosis, mitigation, prevention, treatment or cure for the 2009 H1N1 flu virus. Some could even pose serious health risks, it says.

The FDA has said it will take regulatory action against the businesses that market products falsely claiming to cure, prevent or diagnose the virus. The products marketed are found in a range of categories, including:

Air System Products
Device Products
Gloves Products
Herbal Extract Products
Inhaler Products
Kit Products
Mask Products
Shampoo Products
Spray Products
Supplement Products
Tea Products
Test Products

Products can be searched according to brand name or product name, either separately or in combination.

For the updated list of the FDA's unapproved, uncleared or unauthorized products targeting H1N1, please go to:

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/h1n1flu/#All

 

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