Following confirmation that the deadly virus has reached Turkey, the price of Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug that experts believe could improve survival chances among victims by up to 50 per cent, rose to nearly £9 a tablet.
Roche, the Swiss maker of Tamiflu, has issued a warning not to buy the prescription-only pill over the internet.
"We cannot vouch for internet sales," said David Reddy, Roche's executive in charge of sales of Tamiflu. "People may buy material from the internet which is purported to be Tamiflu but isn't, and which poses serious medical risks."
Yesterday, Professor Hugh Pennington, who headed the Government's probe into the E. Coli 0157 tragedy which killed at least 20 people in Lanarkshire, said people risked being "ripped off" by buying a drug they did not need.
He said: "The risk of them getting bird flu is low. Tamiflu is not [a] wonder drug. It was given to some people in Asia and did not stop them dying."