Effectiveness of Stockpiled Tamiflu and Relenza Questioned by UK based Research Organization

Effectiveness of Stockpiled Tamiflu and Relenza Questioned

The anti-flu drugs stockpiled by governments across the world including tamiful and relenza, might do more harm than offering benefit to individuals. As per the study conducted by UK based nonprofit research organization Cochrane Collaboration, the drugs tamiflu and relenza, stockpiled by governments to fight influenza outbreaks might cause harm after their team reviewed 170,000 pages of clinical trial records. Cochrane Collaboration has urged health department to carry out a detailed review about the role of flu drugs in controlling the spread of influenza.

The report said that there is “no good evidence” to support that use of tamiflu or relenza reduces the hospitalizations related to flu. The study found very small positive impact of the medications. The study results have been published in British Medical Journal. Cochran Collaboration team has carried out a detailed review of 26 Relenza clinical trials and 20 Tamiflu trials.

The governments in US and the UK have spent millions on stockpiling the drugs. After the outbreak of H1N1 swine flu in year 2009, US government has spent $1.3 billion on flu medications while UK has spent $700 million.

Study co-author Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford, said in London that the money spent on stockpiling by governments in many countries has been thrown down the drain. He urged that government should review its decision and carry out a detailed study regarding impact of the drugs in control of flu outbreaks.

Roche Holding AG’s Tamiflu has been associated with delirium and vomiting. The drug has also caused kidney issues in some patients. The positive impact of Tamiflu stays for nearly 17 hours but it has no positive impact on hospitalizations. GlaxoSmithKline Plc manufactures relenza, which has been major contributor to $1.8 billion antiviral portfolio of the company.

Meanwhile, Roche’s UK medical director Dr Daniel Thurley has denied the reports. He added that Roche has carried out extensive research on the effectiveness of the drug. The company official added that their data and clinical trials have been checked by drug controllers worldwide before approving tamiflu for treatment.

The current study poses serious questions regarding the role of drug regulators across the world in approval of medications.


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