Tamiflu, the anti-flu drug being snapped up in record amounts, does not prevent serious complications from the flu and should not be used for routine control of the flu in healthy adults, according to Public Citizen. In an article sent to online subscribers of www.WorstPills.org, Public Citizen called for an independent review of raw data from clinical trials funded by Tamiflu’s maker, Roche. The company has claimed that the drug dramatically reduced hospital admissions as well as bronchitis and pneumonia. But a recent investigation by the British Medical Journal and British TV Channel 4 concluded that such claims were meritless.
In the wake of widespread media coverage of the H1N1 virus, Tamiflu sales have skyrocketed. In October, 2.5 million prescriptions were filled in the U.S. compared to just 35,000 prescriptions in October 2008. For the past 12 months, 6.8 million prescriptions were written, compared with 4.3 million the previous 12 months. Dr. Sidney Wolfe, who is director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, had this to say:
Tamiflu is being erroneously peddled as a panacea to flu. In fact, no research exists to support this in healthy adults. At best, it can modestly reduce some minor flu systems in such people for a day.
Public Citizen says that all of the clinical research conducted to determine the effectiveness of Tamiflu on healthy adults has been funded by the drug’s manufacturer, Roche. The British investigation involved a review of all published studies examining the effects of Tamiflu in preventing serious complications of the flu in otherwise healthy adults. The authors concluded that we “have no confidence in claims that [Tamiflu] reduces the risk of complications and hospital admission in people with influenza,” and they wrote that it should not be used in routine control of seasonal influenza. There was also concern about underreporting of side effects of the drug. Although the data available were gathered before the H1N1 virus made its appearance, Dr. Wolfe said the results can probably be extrapolated to H1N1 because it is another variety of flu.
Source: Public Citizen
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