Entrepreneurism is the American way. Scratch that: it's the way of the world. And so it's not very surprising that, when an opportunity of great economic magnitude comes along, however serious, however evil, someone out there will find a way to overcome his conscience and exploit it. So as we count down to the avian flu mutating into a strain transmittable from human to human, we find, as did US customs officials, shipments of counterfeit Tamiflu sent with the aim of tricking the highest bidder into innoculating himself with a useless vaccine:
The first package was intercepted Nov. 26 at an air mail facility near San Francisco International Airport, said Roxanne Hercules, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.Link (via the Huffington Post). This is exactly like The Third Man, only without the zither theme. Oh, why not?
Since then, agents have seized 51 separate packages, each containing up to 50 counterfeit capsules labeled generic Tamiflu.
The fake drugs had none of Tamiflu's active ingredients, and officials were running tests to determine what the capsules did contain. Initial tests indicated some vitamin C in the capsules, said David Elder, director of the Food and Drug Administration Office of Enforcement.
. . . .
"What we're trying to do is alert the American public that they shouldn't be buying this product because we may never be able to track down the manufacturers," Elder said Sunday. "We've anticipated the likelihood of counterfeits from the very beginning. People are trying to profit on the heightened concerns of the American public."
Indexed by tags crime, science, medicine, bird flu, avian flu, Asia, vaccine, fake, counterfeit, politics, customs, import, The Third Man.
Image credits: The Third Man, 1949, courtesy Varifrank, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes.
Audio credits: "The Third Man Theme," from The Best of Soundtrack, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes.