FDA Cracks Down on Swine Flu Snake Oil

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2009 1:05 PM CDT
A nurse wears a face mask during a protest at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center to urge hospitals to protect workers from the swine flu.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The hysteria over the swine flu pandemic has spawned its share of magic cures, and health authorities are busy combating the snake oil salesmen, the Financial Times reports. Nearly half of the warning letters sent by the FDA to manufacturers and retailers since May have been issued to those hawking products that purportedly combat the H1N1 threat. “Not only are these claims illegal but we also consider them a potentially significant threat to public health,” the FDA says.

The products “may create a false sense of security and possibly prevent people from seeking proper ­medical help,” an FDA official says. Manufacturers have been put on warning for selling, among other things, a “swine flu H1N1 nutritional support kit” complete with anti-flu “Free Radical Quenchers"; a shampoo that claims to stop the virus from invading hair; and a “photon genie” whose “life-nourishing photobiotic energy” strengthens the immune system.