New analysis questions the value of flu drug Tamiflu

A new analysis has reported that the popular flu drug Tamiflu did not prevent the spread of flu or reduce dangerous complications, and only slightly alleviated flu symptoms. The analysis, conducted by The Cochrane Collaboration, also claimed that Tamiflu caused a number of side-effects, including nausea, headaches, psychiatric events, kidney problems and hyperglycaemia.


The Cochrane Collaboration report found that Tamiflu reduced the persistence of flu symptoms from seven days to 6.3 days in adults and to 5.8 days in children, but maintained that other drugs could have a similar impact.

Tamiflu is stockpiled by governments all over the world in preparation for flu pandemics, and the World Health Organization (WHO) currently classifies the drug as an essential medicine, although in light of The Cochrane Collaboration report the WHO has welcomed “a new and rigorous analysis of available data, and look forward to consideration of its findings after it appears.”

The drug has been licensed for production in China since 2005 (where licensees distribute the drug under different names), and belongs to a group of medicines known as neuraminidase inhibitors, which offer the only presently known treatment option for bird flu. The drug was also widely prescribed during the swine flu outbreak in 2009.

Tamiflu manufacturer Roche and other experts have challenged the analysis as flawed. Roche, like most other drug companies, does not publish all of its research data, and The Cochrane Collaboration report is the result of a colossal fight for previously hidden data pertaining to the effectiveness and side-effects of Tamiflu.

9 Responses to “New analysis questions the value of flu drug Tamiflu”

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