Blistering report against Tamiflu cites possible harm to users

Blistering report against Tamiflu cites possible harm to users

(KFVS) - Researchers with the University of Oxford found that Tamiflu not only does not do any good in fighting the flu. It might actually harm those who take it.

It was a blistering report that says millions of dollars have been wasted on the anti-viral drug. Researchers say Tamiflu only slightly reduces flu symptoms and failed to reduce hospital admissions. Not only that, the report indicates Tamiflu may actually harm those who take it.

"And that third more worryingly, that they have a number of adverse effects, that includes nausea, vomiting and headaches, but also importantly some really serious adverse events, which include psychiatric adverse events, renal adverse events and metabolic adverse events which include raising your blood sugar," said Professor Carl Heneghan, from the University of Oxford, who is one of the authors of the Cochrane report .

The makers of Tamiflu strongly disagree with the findings of this report.

Representatives respond by saying Tamiflu is backed up by dozens of clinical studies that shows it does exactly what it claims to do.

"Tamiflu was first licensed in 1999 and we're now in 2014, so it's been on the market for some 15 years," said Barry Clinch, the principal scientist working on Tamiflu for the pharmaceutical company Roche. "It's been approved by 100 regulators in individual countries around the world and 130 million patients have been treated with this medicine. So when I look at that in that context, versus one report, and then you also ask the question of "What about pandemic preparedness?" WHO recommended the use of the drug, CDC in the US, the European equivalent also recommended the use of the drug, so there's a clear consensus across all of those people."

Researchers who say it doesn't work recommend better use of flu vaccines to keep people from ever getting the virus in the first place.

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved. CBS contributed to this report.