Roche’s Tamiflu Not Proven to Cut Flu Complications


Michelle Fay Cortez
Bloomberg
December 9, 2009

[efoods]The effectiveness of Roche Holding AG’s Tamiflu in treating flu complications in healthy adults can’t be determined because the Swiss drugmaker wouldn’t supply data from eight studies, an independent research group said.

The exclusion led the Cochrane Collaboration to reverse its previous finding that the pill warded off pneumonia and other deadly conditions linked to influenza. Tamiflu has been the mainstay of treatment for swine flu, which has killed almost 9,000 people since April, according to the World Health Organization. Roche said the drug is effective.

An analysis of 20 studies showed that Tamiflu, which is expected to generate 2.7 billion francs ($2.64 billion) in sales this year, eased and shortened symptoms if taken quickly. It found no clear evidence that the drug prevented lower respiratory tract infections or complications of influenza, according to the nonprofit research group in a review published in the British Medical Journal.

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