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“Tamiflu Dangers”

This year marks one of the worst flu seasons in recent years. Tamiflu (oseltamivir), an anti-influenza medication, has been touted as effective in reducing complications of flu such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Sales of the drug skyrocketed during the hyped bird- and swine flu pandemics of 2006 and 2009. In 2009, sales of the blockbuster flu drug, Tamiflu, reached $3 billion. But some of the evidence supporting its use has turned out to be based on fraudulent and/or missing data. In 2006, Dr. Tom Jefferson, was outraged when two employees of a communications company admitted that they had been paid to ghostwrite some of the studies, with explicit instructions to come to the “correct” conclusion regarding Tamiflu’s effectiveness. According to the Los Angeles Times: “After reanalyzing the raw data finally made available (they still don’t have it all) … there was no proof that Tamiflu reduced serious flu complications like pneumonia or death.” Genentech Corp. is a U.S. affiliate of Hoffmann-La Roche that holds the marketing rights to Tamiflu. Apparently, doctors prescribe it because they have nothing better, but without a lot of hope for good results.

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