Federal regulators have issued a new warning about fraudulent flu remedies, as the influenza virus continues to strike across the country.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission sent a warning letter to the company that markets "GermBullet," a nasal inhaler that makes flu prevention and treatment claims. The agencies ordered the firm to remove the language in its labeling and advertising that violates federal law.
"If the company continues to sell the product without removing the deceptive and illegal language, the firm may be subject to enforcement action, which could include seizure of the products or other legal sanctions," said FDA Regulatory Counsel Brad Pace, of the agency’s Health Fraud and Consumer Outreach Branch.
The FDA also noted other questionable products have been marketed online and in retail stores with claims that they prevent, treat, or cure the flu, even though they have not been tested and the FDA has not approved them. They include products marketed as dietary supplements or conventional foods, drugs, nasal sprays, and devices.
"As any health threat emerges, fraudulent products appear almost overnight," said Gary Coody, FDA's national health fraud coordinator. "Right now, so-called 'alternatives' to the flu vaccine are big with scammers."
Mary Malarkey, director of FDA's Office of Compliance and Biologics Quality, said such products “give consumers a false sense of security. There is no need to buy a product that claims to be an alternative to the vaccine. Flu vaccine is still available and it's not too late to get vaccinated."
To avoid catching the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the vaccine for adults and children over six months of age. If you do get the flu, two FDA-approved antiviral drugs — Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir) — are treatment options recommended by CDC to fight the virus and shorten the time you're sick.
They can also be used to help prevent the flu.
The FDA also notes no legally marketed over-the-counter (OTC) drugs have been approved to prevent or cure the flu, but some products can reduce fever and relieve muscle aches, congestion, and other symptoms.
© 2023 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.