Tamiflu effectiveness questioned

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London, Dec 9 (ANI): A new study has found no clear evidence that Tamiflu prevents complications like pneumonia in people infected with flu.

The study conducted by British Medical Journal (BMJ) and Channel 4 has appeared online in the BMJ and questions the accuracy of the research from Roche, the manufacturer of Tamiflu.

A team led by experts from Cochrane Collaboration examined 20 existing studies to come up with the conclusion.

According to the study, Tamiflu "did not reduce influenza-related lower respiratory tract complications", reports Times Online.

Researchers found that the evidence of the side effects of Tamiflu was "possibly under-reported", although they did agree that the drug was successful in treating people preventatively after they had come into contact with an already infected person.

The drug was also discovered to be effective in shortening the length of symptoms in patients with swine flu.

The team wrote in the BMJ: "Paucity of good data has undermined previous findings for oseltamivir's (Tamiflu's) prevention of complications from influenza."

Dr Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of the BMJ, said: "Governments around the world have spent billions of pounds on a drug that the scientific community now finds itself unable to judge."

A separate review done by Professor Nick Freemantle and Dr Melanie Calvert, from the University of Birmingham, found that "oseltamivir may reduce the risk of pneumonia in otherwise healthy people who contract flu. However, the absolute benefit is small, and side effects and safety should also be considered."

They added: "Interpretation of the studies was difficult.

"It seems likely that some patients were included in more than one study, which undermines the ability of these studies to provide independent estimates." (ANI)

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