A cure for the H1N1 strand of swine flu has overtaken Viagra as the most spammed drug on the internet, according to medical experts.
Spam emails attempting to sell drug Tamiflu, a treatment for the swine influenza, have increased dramatically in recent months, according to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, as a result of the recent H1N1 pandemic which originated in Mexico, South America.
According to the World Health Organisation, there have been more than 77,000 confirmed cases of swine flu, including 332 deaths to date and experts have raised concerns over the number of people now attempting to purchase the drug online.
“The whole field of counterfeit drugs is becoming a much bigger problem, not just with Tamiflu,” Sir Liam Donaldson, the British government’s chief medical officer, told the BBC.
“So my advice is don’t buy it, you don’t need to. We have got the biggest stockpile in the world and even worse than that you might end up with something that is poisonous and dangerous.”
The RPS has also warned that users could be tempted to purchase drugs online in response to spam emails purporting to sell legitimate versions of the Tamiflu drug.
A spokesman, David Pruce, said: “We now think that Tamiflu is the most spammed medicine on the internet. It’s taken over from Viagra. Most of that Tamiflu could well be fake. If it’s fake it could range from simple sugar to rat poison.”
Spammers are also likely to use alternative spellings of the drug in an attempt to bypass email spam filters within various forms of antivirus software packages, using alternative names or deliberately altering the spelling.
Experts are advising computer users to update any antivirus software and email spam filters that they may have and to ensure that they do not purchase any swine-flu related drugs online.