Swine Flu Fraud: What to Watch Out For

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Natural swine flu remedies may seem too healthy to be true.

A dietary supplement maker has made false claims that one of its products can prevent and treat swine flu, and natural health expert Dr. Andrew Weil, whose Web site sells the supplement, has received a warning from health regulators.

The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission issued a warning letter advising DrWeil.com to cease marketing Weil’s Immune Support Formula using unproven claims that it can fight the H1N1 swine flu virus. In fact, the false claims could pose a nationwide health risk, the agency says.

The FDA says consumers should not use swine flu related products that haven’t been approved by the FDA, and the agency publishes a list of uncleared swine flu related supplements and other products on its Web site.

“The marketing and sale of unapproved or uncleared H1N1 Flu Virus-related products that are not authorized … is a potentially significant threat to the public health,” the FDA wrote. “You should take immediate action to ensure that your firm is not marketing, and does not market in the future, products intended to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat or cure the H1N1 Flu Virus that have not been approved, cleared, or authorized by the FDA,” it added in its letter to DrWeil.com.

If the online retailer fails to change its misleading swine flu marketing tactics, the FTC could seize the supplements and prosecute the company. DrWeil.com and Weil Lifestyle did not respond to requests for comment.

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