Swine flu attracts online scammers, flooding US market with fake pills


Standing on the threshold of what looks to be a long, cold winter, many people are already preparing to fight the onslaught of the H1N1 virus, also knows as swine flu, avian flu, Spanish flu or plain old influenza. In addition to standard Centers for Disease Control–endorsed preventatives (getting enough sleep, washing hands), some consumers are looking into oseltamavir-based anti-flu drugs like Gilead Sciences (GILD)'s pill Tamiflu.

The trouble is, it's impossible to get oseltamavir in the U.S. without a prescription, so people who are out of work, dealing with health-insurance red tape, or trying to save money may have a hard time buying the drug. For those consumers, online pharmacies based outside the U.S. hold the promise of cheap, convenient access to a proven flu killer.