Vaccine warning

As flu activity picks up across the country, federal authorities are warning Canadians not to buy unauthorized products from the Internet or other sources that claim to fight the H1N1 virus.

OTTAWA — As flu activity picks up across the country, federal authorities are warning Canadians not to buy unauthorized products from the Internet or other sources that claim to fight the H1N1 virus.

The Competition Bureau and Health Canada issued a statement Wednesday saying that only three products are authorized for use against the virus: the vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline called Arepanrix, which is available at flu clinics and doctors’ offices, and the antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza.

In addition, 200,000 doses of the unadjuvanted H1N1 vaccine called Panvax has been imported from Australia for use in pregnant women.

The warning says vaccines should only come from a qualified health care provider, and antivirals should only be purchased with a prescription from a health care practitioner who has examined the patient.

The advisory says there are legitimate Canadian Internet pharmacies, but consumers need to be aware of the risks associated with buying drugs online.

Health Canada says it will monitor the Internet and take action against websites selling unauthorized products for the treatment or prevention of the H1N1 flu virus, or any other health condition.

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