There are all sorts of evidentiary questions swirling around the use of the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu). And then there is the politics – if that’s what you can call the statements and actions of federal agencies about the drug.
Jeanne Lenzer has a new feature in The BMJ, “Why aren’t the US Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration speaking with one voice on flu?”
A dozen different sources are quoted in the piece.
Lenzer frames the piece this way:
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched an ambitious campaign urging people to take an antiviral drug for flu if one is prescribed by a doctor, saying that it could “save lives.” The claim is at the center of a heated controversy.
The Food and Drug Administration told The BMJ that data submitted to it for review do not support the claim that the neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir (marketed by Genentech and Roche as Tamiflu) “saves lives.” The FDA said that oseltamivir “has not been proven to have a positive impact on the potential consequences (such as hospitalizations, mortality, or economic impact) of seasonal, avian, or pandemic influenza.”
Some of the people interviewed for the piece say that:
Many news organizations have been unquestioning and so, uncritical, about some of the claims made for the use of Tamiflu – topic of a future blog post.
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