Fake Swine Flu Cures Flourish Online

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2009 5:49 PM CDT
Ilana Jackson, left, and Jeremy Fierstien wear surgical masks during their wedding in Highland Park, Ill. The couple wore masks after finding out 48 hours before the wedding that they had swine flu.   (AP Photo/Duron Studio Photography, Sukit Subanersanti)
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(Newser) – Purported swine flu cures are cropping up online, including a nostril sanitizer, air purifier, and a shampoo that makers say will wash that virus right out of your hair, the Kansas City Star reports. The FDA has mailed out more than 50 warnings to online sellers not to make such claims. But it's Internet whack-a-mole for regulators. The Internet "changes minute to minute, second to second,” said FDA coordinator Gary Coody.

The products range mostly from $40 to $200—one electronic device sold for $2,995—but buyers lose more than money, Coody said. Users of fake products may also ignore legitimate drugs. People may be turning to sham cures because the government offers little advice for battling swine flu, said one analyst: “People aren’t satisfied with washing their hands with soap and water. If they’re anxious, doing nothing is not gratifying.”