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|Sun, 01-10-2010 - 6:19am|
Get ready for some more flu funny business — except you won’t be laughing when you hear about this one.
Drug giant Roche is being accused of hiding key data from eight unpublished studies on its flu drug, Tamiflu… and, as a result, researchers now say there’s no evidence that the drug can reduce the risk of flu complications such as pneumonia.
What are they hiding? Who knows — but you don’t lock the smartest and most attractive kids in the attic.
The Cochrane Collaboration tried to update their earlier review of the research — but the company demanded a confidentiality agreement in exchange for access to those eight shady studies.
I’m thrilled to say the researchers told Roche where to stick that agreement. Too bad that kind of integrity is all too rare.
In an editorial that accompanied the new review in the British Medical Journal, editor Fiona Godlee tore into the company. She wrote that the studies originally used to back Tamiflu were written by Roche employees and consultants, and that one researcher named in a study even claimed no involvement in the project.
Shady? You bet. Surprising? Not at all.
It’s par for the course when it comes to Big Pharma.
So here’s about all those researchers can say about Tamiflu now: It could reduce flu symptoms by about a day.
And here’s what I can tell you about this dangerous drug: Its side effects include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea. Some patients experience severe allergic reactions, confusion, bizarre behavior, hallucinations, seizures, fever, sore throat and more.
Some of these reactions are far more common than anyone wants to admit — especially in children, as I’ve warned you before.
Worth it? You decide — but I think you’re better off investing in another box of tissues and that extra day of rest.