The Cochrane Collaboration* just released an exhaustive analysis on the effectiveness of Tamiflu. The report comes this close to saying that the US wasted $1.3 billion in stockpiling a drug for flu that works no better than Tylenol:
Neuraminidase Inhibitors For Preventing And Treating Influenza In Healthy Adults And Children, Cochrane, 10 April 2014
The BBC covered it:
Tamiflu: Millions Wasted On Flu Drug, Claims Major Report
[Cochrane] concluded that the drug reduced the persistence of flu symptoms from 7 days to 6.3 days … drugs such as [Tylenol] could have a similar impact.
It also claimed that the drug had a number of side-effects, including nausea, headaches, psychiatric events, kidney problems and hyperglycaemia.
Carl Heneghan, Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford and one of the report’s authors, told the BBC: “I think the whole £500m has not benefited human health in any way and we may have harmed people.”
“The system that exists for producing evidence on drugs is so flawed and open to misuse that the public has been misled.”
Dr Tom Jefferson, a clinical epidemiologist and former GP, said: “I wouldn’t give it for symptom relief, I’d give paracetamol [Tylenol].
Roche, Tamiflu’s manufacturer, said the analysis is flawed. What are they going to say?
How is it that these no-effectiveness studies come out after the drug is marketed? After consumers spend so much money? And suffer so many serious side effects?
Here’s one way:
Drug companies do not publish all their research data. This report is the result of a colossal fight for the previously hidden data into the effectiveness and side-effects of Tamiflu.
I tell you, my faith in Pharma is near rock-bottom.
* The Cochrane Collaboration is “a not-for-profit organisation with collaborators from over 120 countries working together to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest.”