Australian researchers question effectiveness of Tamiflu

13:41, December 10, 2009      

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An Australian-led team of researchers on Thursday called into question the effectiveness of Tamiflu whose manufacturers made billions during the A/H1N1 flu pandemic.

Governments worldwide may have spent billions of dollars stockpiling Tamiflu for little benefit, after medical experts admitted they were wrong to conclude the flu-fighting drug could slash deaths and other complications.

The review, initiated by Bond University dean of health sciences Chris del Mar, set out to conduct an update of the evidence for Tamiflu on behalf of the Cochrane Collaboration, considered the most reliable source of medical evidence worldwide.

A positive Cochrane review of Tamiflu was relied on by several governments in making their decision to buy the drug.

However, what the researchers found overturned the previous conclusions, and raised questions about the reliability of clinical studies more widely.

Contacted by a Japanese researcher who did not believe claims Tamiflu reduced complications, the researchers tried to verify the data and found much of it was never published by the drug's makers, and the conclusions could not be checked.

The authors of the paper said they had tried to obtain the missing information from the Swiss drugmaker Roche, but it had not been supplied.

Eight studies included in the previous review had been taken out of the data analysis. As a result, the lack of reliable information had "undermined previous findings for Tamiflu's prevention of complications from influenza", the researchers noted.

Source: Xinhua
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