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Warning over online flu drugs

The government has issued a warning about buying antiviral flu medicine online after the Health Secretary predicted the number of new swine flu cases would hit 100,000 per day by the end of August.

The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, reassured the public that even though the government's stance had shifted into the "treatment phase", there was no need for people to seek the medication independently.

Sir Liam said that Britain already had a large stockpile of Tamiflu to stave off the threat from the virus and that a vaccine was due to arrive at the end of August.

He told GMTV: "We have got a massive stockpile in this country and everybody can have access to it through the National Health Service."

He added he was "surprised" health services had controlled the virus for as long as they had.

The first round of vaccinations will begin next month with the government aiming for 30 million people to be immunised by the end of the year.

So far only three people in the UK have died after contracting the swine flu virus, with all of the victims having underlying health problems.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Department of Health