State health dept. probing alleged fake medications

April 29, 2011 2:06:06 PM PDT
The Texas Department of State Health Services is urging consumers to rid their cabinets of several over-the-counter drugs that it says are falsely being marketed as antibiotics.

The health department is investigating several dietary supplements under names such as Amoxilina, Pentrexcilina, Ampitrexyl, Citricillin, Amoximiel and Pentreximil.

Authorities say the products' labels falsely suggest that the products are prescription antibiotics; however, the supplements don't appear to contain any active drug ingredients and haven't been approved to treat medical conditions.

State health officials became aware of the situation after reports that an Austin hospital treated several patients whose parents mistakenly believed they had been treating their children with an antibiotic. They're now worried more consumers have been taking the medications for beneficial health effects that it claims don't exist.

Health officials say the products in question closely resemble well-known prescription antibiotic drugs, such as Amoxicillin. The products may be available in capsule, syrup, ointment and drinkable forms.

The supplements in question are sold statewide at various retailers, including small independent stores that cater to the Hispanic community. Usage instructions are in Spanish and English, so authorities believe the Hispanic community may have been the target.

The state's health department is working with other agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to investigate product origin, distribution, labeling and advertising.

Meanwhile, retailers are urged to remove the products from store shelves and contact their distributors for instructions.

Authorities warn that delaying actual antibiotic treatment may worsen an illness. People should call their doctor if they believe they have an illness that warrants antibiotic treatment.

Consumers also can call the Texas Department of State Health Services at 512-834-6755 to file a complaint or for more information.

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