updated 6/18/2010 7:06:13 PM ET 2010-06-18T23:06:13

The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers that some online pharmacies are selling a fake version of the flu treatment Tamiflu that could be dangerous to people who are allergic to penicillin.

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The agency said the sites are selling a drug that purports to be generic Tamiflu. The drug is not FDA approved and it contains a drug called cloxacillin, which is similar to penicillin and could cause a deadly allergic reaction, including difficulty breathing, rapid or weak pulse, and swelling of the throat or tongue, in people with penicillin allergies.

The FDA said its investigators were able to buy the fake Tamiflu online without a prescription even though the drug is not legally available without a prescription. The investigators were sent 30 yellow and tan capsules that were marked as oseltamivir phosphate — the active ingredient in Tamiflu — but tests showed the capsules did not contain any oseltamivir and contained cloxacillin instead.

It said the package was shipped from India after the investigators placed an order at a website that advertised itself as an online pharmacy. The FDA said the website is no longer operating.

Tamiflu is made by Roche Group, a Swiss drug company.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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