Manufacturer rejects claims that flu drug is ineffective
THE pharmaceutical company which makes the drug Tamiflu has rejected research claiming it is no better than paracetamol.
Roche said that decisions "reached by 100 regulators across the world and subsequent real-world evidence demonstrate that Tamiflu is an effective medicine in the treatment and prevention of flu".
The company was responding to research published in the 'British Medical Journal' by the Cochrane Collaboration saying it did not prevent complications, stop people passing on the flu virus or prevent a pandemic.
It suggested health authorities across the world, including Ireland, which have spent millions stockpiling the drug, as part of contingency planning in the event of pandemic, should re-examine evidence of its effectiveness.
Regular customers who want to purchase it for their own personal use in Ireland must get a prescription from a doctor. It comes in three strengths and costs between €18 and €31.
The Roche spokeswoman said the latest report failed to take into account the totality of data available for Tamiflu, including only 20 out of 77 clinical trials available to them and excluding real-world data from observational trials.
"The result is a misrepresentation of the efficacy and safety of an established influenza medicine, undermining global public health consensus.
"We welcome third-party research, and are dedicated to sharing clinical data for our medicines in the interest of advancing science," the company said.
"However we do not consider the Cochrane group . . . to be an authority on the value of neuraminidase inhibitors.
"Roche believes it is important that public health bodies and influenza experts provide their opinion on this review, alongside the totality of Tamiflu data, before any conclusions are drawn," she added.