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Spam Medicine News

Fake Tamiflu "Out-Spams Viagra On Web" 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the stiff-competition dept.
cin62 writes "The number of Internet scammers offering fake versions of the anti-swine flu drug Tamiflu has surpassed those selling counterfeit Viagra, reports CNN. Since the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, was declared a global pandemic last month, there has been an increase in the number of Web sites and junk emails offering Tamiflu for sale. 'Every Web site that used to sell Viagra is now selling Tamiflu. We are pretty sure that the same people are making the Tamiflu as are making the Viagra,' said Director of Policy for the UK's Royal Pharmaceutical Society." This news fits in nicely with a report Wired ran a couple weeks ago about the hysteria behind H1N1.
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Fake Tamiflu "Out-Spams Viagra On Web"

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Because on the 'net, everyone knows how stupid you are. Half fillled with stupid moronic suckers. I know, because I know.

    Ben Dover
    Son of King Lhalid, Nigeria

  • Dear sir or madam, I would like to inform of a new courtesy drug ranging in 50% off! Help protecting swine flu from child or pet!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @07:22PM (#28576087)

    so I guess when people end up with the flu _and_ a boner perhaps they'll know better next time!

  • by Green Salad (705185) on Friday July 03, 2009 @07:36PM (#28576169) Homepage

    I'd like to know who purchases from spam. They need punishment.. What's their typical profile? Do they live in a cave? ...and still have internet?

    • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Friday July 03, 2009 @07:38PM (#28576183) Homepage

      Quick, this is our chance to rid the world of the types of people who buy viagra, and fake tamiflu advertised in spam.

      Which poison would be best?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by brainfsck (1078697)
        Whatever the hell they put in the fake "medicine" would probably do the trick all by itself.
      • by Fuzzums (250400)

        poison?

        how about being infected with a potential deadly disease and using a placebo as medicine?
        isn't that enough?

      • Just the fact that they are buying fake Tamiflu means they will put themselves at more risk. This is the situation anytime a fake solution is offered, since at best it diverts resources away from real solutions.
    • Probably the same demographics who respond to having the "VIVA, VIAGRA" song and subliminal sexual messages about how "better" your sex life would be using drugs shoved in their faces whenever they're trying to watch cable television or sports games.

  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Friday July 03, 2009 @07:37PM (#28576173)
    I just can't come to grips with the fact that people will actually order stuff like this off the net. It would be no different than taking random drugs you bought off the street corner. It just seems insane to me.

    I'm also curious if any countries take steps to actively stamp these out? It seems like it should be fairly simple to figure out where these are based. I can only assume they are based in counties with no extradition laws?
    • by meyekul (1204876) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:30PM (#28576839) Homepage

      I just can't come to grips with the fact that people will actually order stuff like this off the net. It would be no different than taking random drugs you bought off the street corner. It just seems insane to me.

      Yeah, nobody would buy drugs off a street corner... wtf

    • by z-j-y (1056250)

      just like drug dealers on the street, they too have a reputation to maintain, and they need happy returning customers. their business could be legitimate in their own country which has a different standard for controlled substances.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tlhIngan (30335)

      I just can't come to grips with the fact that people will actually order stuff like this off the net. It would be no different than taking random drugs you bought off the street corner. It just seems insane to me.

      I'm also curious if any countries take steps to actively stamp these out? It seems like it should be fairly simple to figure out where these are based. I can only assume they are based in counties with no extradition laws?

      There is another possibility - dumb businesses. A spammer's business model is

      • by Lennie (16154)

        The last quote I've seen is, they sends out 20 milion messages for US $150.

      • As long as people believe it works and are willing to pay good money for it, it'll continue happening.

        I believe you have nailed it right here, sir. The truth is that there are a vast number of small business owners that simply fail to understand the nature of the internet. The original usenet spam was perpetrated by people who honestly believed there was nothing wrong with subjecting people to a flood of crap. The original spammers were lawyers, and I liken their lack of morality to the modern day professional spammers.

    • > I just can't come to grips with the fact that people will actually order stuff like this off the net.
      > It would be no different than taking random drugs you bought off the street corner. It just seems insane to me.

      Actually it isn't. A lot of this stuff comes out of pharmaceutical companies that either have FDA approval or work on a similar level. There is no "world wide patent". It would also to expensive to patent a drug world wide (let's say every African country). Some Viagra, as far as I know, c

      • I work for an email security company. One of our researchers actually bought some of that stuff and sent it to labs to have it analyzed. Some of it contained some of the Viagra ingredient but wasn't actual Viagra; most of it was simply fake.

        It might be theoretically possible (although highly unlikely) to get counterfeit drugs at a pharmacy in the United States, but it's odd-on that you will not get what you think you're getting if you buy drugs from a spammer.

        Stop and think about it: spammers are fundamenta

    • by aminorex (141494)

      What have you got against poor people getting medical care?

  • by basementman (1475159) on Friday July 03, 2009 @07:41PM (#28576201) Homepage
    Honestly I'm suprised they are selling Tamiflu. First, the hype from swine flu is over for the time being and I don't see many people losing sleep over it. Second, Tamiflu is the kind of drug most people would just buy from legit sources, unlike facing the possible embarrassment when buying Viagra. And finally the company selling it would be in whole hell of a lot more trouble if someone died as a result of a fake vaccine than if someone just couldn't get hard on.
    • by Korin43 (881732)
      Yeah seriously. I can understand why people would buy Viagra online - you need a prescription, but why would you possibly buy something that you can just grab off the shelf of any store?
      • by Korin43 (881732)
        I realized after writing this that it sounds like I'm advocating theft of Tamiflu, but I meant why buy it online..
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Price, convenience, I suspect are factors, as well as gullibility.

        Not sure if this is true of the US, but in Canada, we need to obtain a prescription to get Tamiflu. Tamiflu is not dispensed lightly (usually) due to concerns for potential of everything becoming resistant to it as well.

        • by blockhouse (42351)

          Tamiflu is rx only because it can cause psychotic symptoms, particularly in pediatric patients. It's not as safe as most otc products and requires closer monitoring.

          Another reason to make it rx only is to prevent people from hoarding it and profiteering from a pandemic. This might happen anyway, but it's harder to do. Pharmacies are under a lot more scrutiny regarding their financial practices than John Q. Public.

          Yet another reason that it's good to be rx only is that Tamiflu is covered by most people's

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      Tamiflu's effectiveness is waning.
      http://www.forbes.com/feeds/hscout/2009/03/02/hscout624591.html [forbes.com]

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

        It was never *that* effective, just better than nothing.

        The press make out like it's some kind of miracle flu cure but nothing could be further than the truth - on average it lessens the length of an attack of flu by a couple of days, and makes you marginally less likely to get it in the first place.

        We're waiting for the vaccine. Tamiflu is a stopgap.

    • Tamiflu isn't exactly easy to come by. If there's not an actual shortage now, there is already a perceived shortage in the minds of some people, and that is causing them to try to hoard it for when they get sick. If you're in the market for many, many doses of an obscure drug, you're probably talking about a decent chunk of change. A spammer who's offering you tamiflu at below market rates starts to look attractive. You convince yourself that it's legit medicine that just "fell off the back of a truck," i.e

  • by logicfuzzy (188164) on Friday July 03, 2009 @07:42PM (#28576207)
    You know, I'm kind of tired of this bashing of the swine flu "hysteria". All reports coming from Mexico, since confirmed by studies, have shown that younger people were much more highly afflicted by this flu (I believe almost 50% were younger adults), and it seemed to be spreading very quickly. This was early information that was very alarming and showed it may become something very pandemic-like. Since then, some of this information has changed, or the virus may have mutated and become less deadly, but some of the pandemic-like characteristics still remain. Even the spanish flu started milder in the summer before it really broke out.

    And, nobody really knew what this early information meant. Even in April, some universities estimated the worst-case in the united states will be approximately 1,000 by May 18th (link [iu.edu]) while the try number of cases was AT least 5x that (link [cdc.gov]). The actual cases were probably much more, and by july it was estimated at around a million in the US. Sure, it was becoming clearer that the death rate was small by then, but this couldn't have been known earlier on.

    The response to this information was nothing draconian: no viruses were mandated or anything like that. People were simply asked to wash their hands, avoid coming out if sick, etc. Schools were shut down, but again not that big of a deal. Obviously the majority of the big cities in Mexico, the epicenter, were shut down. The only possible conspiracy-theory type reasoning that may be true is that companies making tamiflu and other drugs made a lot of money off of this. Without additional evidence, that doesn't mean the "hysteria" was manufactured.

    All in all, everybody go to exercise their preparedness responses, and improve on them if they were deficient. I think the response, while probably not perfect, was pretty impressive actually.

    •     Oops, I meant no *vaccines* were mandated...

    • We're probably better equipped to deal with oubreaks now than in 1918...
      • by maeka (518272)

        We're probably better equipped to deal with oubreaks now than in 1918...

        We're also a much more mobile culture - with much much deeper financial dependencies on said movement.
        We're also much more densely populated.

        • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

          Not really - in 1918 WW1 finished and tens (hundreds?) of thousands of soldiers who were living in insanitary conditions all went home, spreading the diseases they had caught to every country of the world. We also knew nothing about how disease spread, and had no drugs to combat bacteria let alone viruses. Something bad was almost bound to hit given that combination of events.

          We're not more mobile than that scale of movement of people.. and we have worldwide communications so we can shut down travel fairl

          • by maeka (518272)

            The weakness in the WWI example is that it was one-way movement. The more virulent a pandemic the more reliant upon reintroduction of the disease into a population base it is. We have today a constant mixing, as opposed to the one-time mix post WWI.

            While we do understand the spread of diseases better today than we did then, outside vaccines we have little better in the way to combat viruses than we did in 1918.

            World population was 1.8 billion in 1918. If all 60 million who served in WWI lived to return h

          • by powerlord (28156)

            Are travel moves quite a few people around every year. As another poster points out, US yearly air travel numbers outstrip the number of returning servicemen from WWI, even if you assume everyone who fought survived and returned home (a nice thought but unrealistic).

            The piece that may be missing is the close quarters that helped act as an incubator for the Fall version of H1N1 flu from 1918.

            I was talking to a friend who used to work at N.I.H. who pointed out that college dormitories are filling the roll lea

    • by jipn4 (1367823)

      You know, I'm kind of tired of this bashing of the swine flu "hysteria".

      You're aware that every year, around 30000 people die from the flu in the US alone?

      All in all, everybody go to exercise their preparedness responses, and improve on them if they were deficient.

      And what "preparedness response" would that be?

      The only thing you can do to prepare for swine flu is: eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep. Once there's a vaccine, you might want to take that.

      That's it. There's nothing else you can do. G

      • And what "preparedness response" would that be?

        They recently mapped swine flu dispersion by air traffic from Mexico. It would be a good idea then to shut down airports for a disease that was initially projected to kill millions. Unfortunately, we will have the same wait-and-see response when the airborne zombifying Ebola virus emerges, because tourist dollars are too damn important.

        • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

          I presume you missed the news when the outbreak first appeared? Mexico became a pariah almost instantly... Flights going there were cancelled, holidays were cancelled. It was shut down, and damn the tourist dollars.

          It was only when it was realized that it was actually pretty mild that everyone just backtracked and got on with their lives. Everything since then has basically been scaremongering because they're too embarassed that they mistook an ordinary flu for a killer zombie virus.

  • Tamiflu is a joke (Score:4, Informative)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Friday July 03, 2009 @07:59PM (#28576305)

    I don't understand why people go apeshit over this drug. It is not a vaccine. It has only been demonstrated to reduce the duration of illness by just one day. And that only works if you take it within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms at which point you may not know if you have the flu or an ordinary cold. It's amazing that they conned the US government into stockpiling it when it does so little and doesn't save lives.

    • Re:Tamiflu is a joke (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:11PM (#28576381) Homepage Journal
      My wife went to Hong Kong with our son and her parents right at the start of the swine flu panic. She got her sister to write her a prescription for tamiflu and they took it with them on their trip along with face masks which (looking at the pictures they brought back) they wore a lot of the time.

      Personally if I had to wear a mask to go to another country I just wouldn't go, but maybe thats just me. The tamiflu was useless as well. My wife's sister, who is a doctor, says when you go to the hospital don't touch the buttons and hand rails in the lift, because sick people use the lift. Doctors take the stairs.
    • Re:Tamiflu is a joke (Score:4, Informative)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:31PM (#28576525) Homepage

      I don't understand why people go apeshit over this drug. It is not a vaccine. It has only been demonstrated to reduce the duration of illness by just one day. And that only works if you take it within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms at which point you may not know if you have the flu or an ordinary cold. It's amazing that they conned the US government into stockpiling it when it does so little and doesn't save lives.

      It's best used for prophylaxis - start taking it either right after contact with an infected person or take it for the 'duration' of the outbreak. Of course, the former is difficult to manage as people are asymptomatic but contagious for up to 72 hours after themselves being infected and the latter a bit of a drag if the 'duration' lasts several months. Tamiflu would be most useful for medical personnel and to try to stop the spread from known contacts.

      But you're right. Random folks popping the drug whenever they think they need it and stopping it at whenever they perceive the threat over isn't going to be very useful and could well contribute to drug resistant influenza - what joy!

      • Re:Tamiflu is a joke (Score:5, Informative)

        by wiredlogic (135348) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:38PM (#28576575)

        It is very unwise to use Tamiflu as a prophylactic. It has neurological side effects, sometimes severe enough to induce suicidal behavior. Taking it like it's as harmless as a vitamin pill is courting danger. It is also reckless and irresponsible to keep the general populace in the dark by promoting it as wonder cure and causing the sort of over consumption that actually makes it profitable for the drug spammers to make money off the foolish.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      It reduces the severity of the symptoms during the period of the illness, and in some cases that could make the difference between you dying from it and surviving.

      • Tamiflu interferes with viral replication which may ease the burden on the immune system but if not administered within the 48-hour window the viral load is too high for it to contribute any significant effect. It's pure conjecture to say that it can save the life of someone who is already so far gone that their immune system can't keep ahead of the virus. There are a lot of better things the government could be spending money things to save lives than this snake oil. The stockpile is all a smoke and mirror

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      It's amazing that they conned the US government into stockpiling it when it does so little and doesn't save lives.

      I was with you until this sentence. It's not amazing, and the con job was run from the inside.

    • The 1 day reduction is an average, and it doesn't tell you about what else it does.

      I had a regular flu and was prescribed Tamiflu (it's prescribed routinely in Europe); it does reduce the severity of symptoms. How do I know? I forgot to take a dose and noticed it right away.

      Tamiflu is not a magic bullet against the flu and it has significant side effects. It's not something you want to take if you're just feeling a little ill. But it does have benefits and I suspect it would save some lives when used i

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Tamiflu is nothing but a scam. You have to take it before you actually get the flu ..... no real evidence it actually works. Yet you pay $100+ for 10 pills.

    I got the flu and was dumb enough to pay for Tamiflu out of my own pocket. I could had just swallow a couple of Skittles to get the same results. Not a single day of improvement, not a single degree of fever dropped. Not even a little less congestion. Nothing .... if you don't count the $100 of wasted money.

    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

      Our government stockpiled 30 million doses of the stuff.

      Sure, we get it free.. but we already paid for this snakeoil. And the press keep treating it like it's a vaccine.

  • People clutch to any straw when panicking, regardless if the panic is over anything of substance. The normal seasonal flu kills as well - possibly more so than H1N1.

    From this article in the guardian [guardian.co.uk] it seems that Tamiflu has a measurable effect, but not markedly. You might get better 2/3 of a day earlier after taking it. I think I'd take it if prescribed but wouldn't pay huge money for it or join in a riot to get the last tablet from a pharamcy.

    • Tamiflu appear to work by preventing the spread of the virus. In other words, you still get it but only in a "light" form. It can also be used preventative, but AFAIK that actually appears to require more of the drug than when you take it as recommended (within 36h of first symptoms).

      Generic Tamiflu info [roche.com] can be found at the Roche website.

      If you get a decent flu you can become quite ill which can have all sorts of unpleasant side effects. Roche mentions this in the leaflet that comes with the product alth

  • What's the connection? Rumsfeld Gilead Roche. Our government buys tamiflu up for the armed forces.... Connect the dots. Another Republican gold mine. Can anyone say healthcare reform?

  • by dmbasso (1052166)

    ... is to educate people, so we have less stupid buyers, the targets of spammers. But most of those stupid persons prefers to remain stupid, so spam is here to stay.

    Now that I think about it, that also applies to Windows, Internet Explorer, viruses (biological and computerized ones), most elected politicians, etc.

    Corollary: the category of plagues is bound by stupidity.

  • Credit cards offered a service for a small fee which would warn a purchaser before making a purchase from a possibly fraudulent retailer? Like a real-time blackhole list for purchasers, only instead of blocking the consumer it simply warns them of a possible risk?

    I might not be interested in something like this but if it wasn't grossly mis-managed or more then a few dollars I'd probably recommend it to my family and friends if they asked me about it. Of course when Amazon files the patent for this maybe
    • by Spad (470073)

      The people buying drugs from spam emails are precisely the people who won't pay for such a service, because they don't need it, becuase they're such geniuses for managing to find all these cheap drug offers that nobody else seems to know about.

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