Friday, December 11, 2009
Tamiflu effectiveness questioned
by Larry Geller
Contrast these two stories:
The first sounds the alarm that a strain of swine flu may be emerging that can’t be cured by Tamiflu:
Drug-resistant swine flu cluster on Vietnam train (AP, 12/9/2009)
The second demonstrates that Tamiflu is not proven effective in treating flu:
The Truth About Tamiflu (The Atlantic, 12/10/2009) (thanks to Viviane Lerner for the pointer to this article.)
This week, the British medical journal BMJ published a multi-part investigation that confirms that the scientific evidence just isn’t there to show that Tamiflu prevents serious complications, hospitalization, or death in people that have the flu.
If Tamiflu is ineffective, then the fact that it didn’t work on these patients in Viet Nam says little about a possible scary new mutated strain.
Taken together, it sounds like our government (and much of the rest of the world) have been cheated. If the charges are proven, will any drug company executives be held responsible? Ha, ha. When swine fly. And we all trusted them, as the Atlantic concludes:
That trust appears to have been misplaced, and a drug touted as beneficial on the basis of flimsy evidence has by now become so entrenched that no one appears willing to conduct the sort of study needed to prove whether or not it can, in fact, save lives.