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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
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November 10, 2009

*****CONSUMER ALERT*****CONSUMER ALERT*****

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN WARNS CONSUMERS ABOUT FAKE FLU PRODUCTS SOLD ONLINE

Chicago - Attorney General Lisa Madigan today urged Illinois consumers to be cautious of online-sales pitches for products that claim to prevent or cure the H1N1 virus. Madigan said consumers should restrict their purchases to FDA-approved products and only make a purchase after consulting their doctor.

"We've learned from federal officials that online scams related to the H1N1 virus are on the rise," Madigan said. "I strongly urge consumers to steer clear of these fraudulent promotions and sales pitches and instead consult their doctor for information on how to prevent and treat the flu."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently tested at least five products marketed on the Internet as Tamiflu, which is one of only two medications approved by the FDA to treat the H1N1 virus. One of the tested products contained none of the active ingredients in Tamiflu, while the remaining four had varying levels of the drug that were not approved for use in the United States.

Madigan said the federal government issued warnings to distributors and promoters of more than 140 fraudulent products, including counterfeit prescription drugs, false food supplements, magic shampoos, facemasks, a "silver spray" claiming to protect against the flu virus and a phony "photon" machine marketed with the false claim that it boosts the immune system.

Consumers can consult the FDA to learn more about approved treatments and products for treating flu-related symptoms by visiting www.fda.gov or the Illinois Department of Public Health at http://www.idph.state.il.us/h1n1_flu/. Consumers who believe they have been victims of consumer fraud can download a complaint form at www.IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov/consumers or call the Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Hotline at one of the following numbers:

Chicago 1-800-386-5438
Springfield 1-800-243-0618
Carbondale 1-800-243-0607
Spanish-language Hotline: 1-866-310-8398

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