Online opportunists use swine flu in deadly gamble
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
10/27/09 at 9:07 AM
Dear Action Line: I'm getting these e-mails about the swine flu vaccine and medicine being available over the Internet, saying they're safer than the government-sponsored vaccine. Everyone I know is scared about this. Should we trust the ads saying THEIR drugs are safer? — W.J., Tulsa.
No. The Internet hoaxers and scare mongers are really playing with fire this time. Listening to them could cost you one of your kids instead of just a little embarrassment over being fooled.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been trying to put down these hoaxes and rumors, but the CDC can't be trusted because it's part of the government, the mongers tauntingly claim. But how about WebMD? See its information on this at
WebMD debunks rumors: "Approved vaccines — including the 2009 H1N1 swine flu vaccine — are calculated to be much less risky than the diseases they prevent," says Web MD. "For example, out of every million people who get a flu shot, one or two will get a serious neurological reaction called Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). But flu itself causes serious problems, including GBS, in far more than two in a million cases. And since a large proportion of the population will get swine flu, the vaccine risk is far smaller than the disease risk. In clinical trials, 10,000 to 15,000 children and adults have received various brands of H1N1 swine flu vaccine. Nothing serious happened to any of them."
Internet vaccines: On Friday, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued a consumer alert on the risks of buying H1N1 (swine flu) treatments over the Internet. Although drugs that treat the disease are in high demand, purchasing them online can be risky. The legitimate H1N1 preventative vaccine is not available online.
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently purchased several drugs over the Internet that were marketed as treatments for H1N1 and found various problems with the pills it received," McDaniel's alert says. "One set of pills contained only talc and acetaminophen, common ingredients in over-the-counter pain relievers. Four other 'treatments' that came in contained the active ingredient in Tamiflu, but in varying amounts. None of the drugs arrived soon enough to treat a person with H1N1 even if the drugs were the real thing. Additionally, none of the products were approved by the FDA for sale in the United States."
Fake Internet drugs: Additional risks when buying medicine over the Internet are the possibility that they are contaminated with ingredients that could cause severe problems when ingested; they could react with other medicines you are taking; and if they do contain the active ingredient for treating H1N1, they could contain too little or too much to properly treat it. All of these cary the risk of life-threatening adverse effects.
The real news: For additional information on H1N1 and seasonal flu visit the CDC at
, Food and Drug Administration at
and World Health Organization at
Submit Action Line questions by calling 699-8888 or by e-mailing phil.mulkins@TulsaWorld.com or by mailing them to Tulsa World Action Line, PO Box 1770, Tulsa OK 74102-1770.