Report says governmental stockpiling of Tamiflu, Relenza waste of money

By Kyle Johnson,

A recently released report says that any governments that stockpiled Tamiflu and Relenza likely didn't do much other than waste money.

The report was put together by the nonprofit network, the Cochrane Collaboration, reports CNN. The network of doctors, researchers and others combed through 46 clinical studies before coming to their conclusion that both flu drugs are mediocre.

At best, both drugs quicken the time of halting flu symptoms in adults by half a day, compared to those who didn't take any drugs at all. Dr. Peter Doshi, assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, said, "A significant number of doctors see them as pretty mediocre drugs that don't do a whole bunch."

Neither Tamiflu nor Relenza was shown to help prevent those seriously afflicted by influenza from needing hospital care or preventing pneumonia.

The U.S. government spent $1.3 billion stockpiling Tamiflu in case of a major influenza breakout, while BBC News reports the U.K. government spent 473 million pounds.

The stockpiling came in the mid-2000s over worries of a potentially global pandemic arising with, at the very least, the drugs providing a stopgap until a vaccine could be developed. The report's authors note, "the case for this is simply unproven" and "there is no credible way these drugs could prevent a pandemic."

Roche, who manufacturers Tamiflu which was prescribed back during the 2009 swine flu outbreak, has called the Cochrane Collaboration's report flawed.



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