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Can You Imagine Importing a Fake Flu Vaccine?

With the avian flu scare running rampant, it's not surprising to me at all some have tried to take advantage of this "epidemic in the making" by selling fake vaccines.

U.S. Customs authorities revealed last weekend they had seized more than 50 shipments of fake Tamiflu since Thanksgiving. The first was delivered near San Francisco International Airport and 51 more have found their way to the United States. (Each box had 50 doses of "generic" Tamiflu, but the vaccines contained no active ingredients.)

Although customs officials expected fake vaccines would turn up at some point, they may never know who made it or exactly where it came from. All that's known was that the fake vaccines were formulated in Asia, and packing information on the boxes was written in Chinese.

Unfortunately, fake drugs have grown into a $30 billion business worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and there's no chance of that black market slowing down anytime soon.

In fact, the real thing may be just as harmful to you as the fake stuff, based on recent reports that the deaths of 12 Japanese children may be linked to Tamiflu.

Yahoo News December 19, 2005

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