Warning on purchase of antivirals without a prescription
The Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices of the Republic of Croatia received a notification from the World Health Organisation (WHO) warning the public not to purchase antiviral medicinal products against the A/H1N1 influenza unless they are prescribed by a physician.
Testing has shown that the currently circulating influenza A/H1N1 virus is sensitive to antivirals such as oseltamivir or zanamivir. The widespread, inappropriate use of these medicines could increase the risk of the virus developing resistance to them. Antivirals should therefore only be purchased with a prescription from a healthcare practitioner who has examined the patient.
Medicinal products sold outside the authorised national medical supply chains should not be purchased.
In its notification, the WHO also warns about the considerable risks associated with buying medicines online. Unlicensed and illegal Internet pharmacies take orders and payments with no assurance of the medicines being delivered, and those customers who do receive medicines have no guarantee of the safety, quality or effectiveness of the medicines, thereby seriously putting their health at risk. Taking illegal, unapproved or counterfeit (fake) medicines could result in death, failure of treatment or serious side effects, because such medicines may not contain any active ingredient, or may contain the incorrect amount of active ingredient or active ingredients not listed on the label or dangerous additives.
To learn more about other important measures to protect against the spread of influenza A/H1N1, please consult the WHO web page which is updated regularly (http://www.who.int/en/).