A journalist bemoans the lack of skepticism in news coverage of Tamiflu in last week’s edition of the BMJ.
“From a bit of a dud to the world’s most sought after drug in the space of six months” is the way the writer describes Tamiflu’s recent fate. “Despite a silly name and a lack of convincing evidence that it will have any real impact on an influenza pandemic, sales and recognition of the drug frequently dubbed ‘our best hope against bird flu’ have leapt through the roof.”
He describes a British researcher who “routinely provides the media with positive comments about Tamiflu and has even appeared in promotional videos for the drug.” Yet the man’s ties to Tamiflu’s manufacturer are rarely mentioned in the news. Another British researcher observes, “Perhaps the media should speak to more than one person when it’s looking for comments or information. Somehow the mainstream media needs to think more on what it’s going to do about this.”