A review of all the clinical trial evidence for flu medications Tamiflu and Relenza has found that they are not as effective as they seemed when only some of the data was assessed.
The new review is based on detailed clinical study reports from clinical trials of the drugs which the researchers from Cochrane Collaboration have spent four and a half years battling to access. It shows there is no good evidence that the drugs prevent the spread of flu or reduce dangerous complications and only helped reduce symptoms by half a day compared to not using the drugs.
The UK government has spent £473 million on Tamiflu and £136 million on Relenza since 2006, and other countries have stockpiled it too. When the government made the decision to stockpile the medications its medicines regulator MHRA had not seen all of the evidence.(...)
Dr Ben Goldacre, author and co-founder of AllTrials: This is a pivotal moment. Tamiflu has become the poster child for clinical trials transparency, and it illustrates perfectly why researchers need access to the full methods and results of all trials, to help doctors and patients make informed decisions about treatments. But we must remember that Roche broke no laws, and Tamiflu is not an isolated case. The evidence clearly shows that important information on the methods and results of clinical trials on the treatments we use today are still being routinely and legally withheld, throughout medicine.
Roche have slowly become more transparent, and should be applauded for this. Many other companies are still lagging behind. Some, such as InterMune, are still suing regulators to make them withhold trials information. Regulators, policy makers, and public health officials must demand full access to the methods and results of all trials, on all treatments currently in use. But industry itself has much to gain by supporting transparency. The world has changed, and they must change with it.” (Más)
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