There are at least 900 laboratory confirmed cases in the United States of the H1N1 Influenza or "swine flu." 2,600 people around the world have been hospitalized due to this new strain of the flu virus.
While most cases of H1N1 flu are mild, scammers are trying to cash in on the public's fear of a potential global pandemic by pushing bogus cures and preventative products. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this alert to warn consumers about these fraudulent product pitches.
"People who want to protect themselves from H1N1 should take common sense precautionary measures like washing their hands and covering their mouths when they cough," said McDaniel. "Buying a product -- like a pill or serum or supplement -- that is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of the flu is not only a waste of money, it could be dangerous to your health and the health of your family."
The Food and Drug Administration is working with the Federal Trade Commission to find, investigate and take appropriate criminal or regulatory action against individuals and businesses that are advertising fraudulent flu treatments. Most of the bogus products are being pitched through web sites. Consumers should be wary of buying any type of medicine through the Internet, not just flu treatments, without consulting a doctor first.
The Public Protection Department of the Attorney General's Office has not received any complaints from Arkansas consumers about fake H1N1 flu products; however, if you have a complaint or would like more information on this scam or about purchasing medicines on the Internet generally, you can log onto the Attorney General's Web site, www.ArkansasAG.gov or call the Public Protection Department at 501-682-2341 or 800-482-8982, toll-free statewide.