Tamiflu: Myth and Misconception (The Atlantic)


In an opinion piece in The Atlantic, Shannon Brownlee, instructor at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and a co-author question the decision by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to issue public service announcements urging people to get the anti-viral drug Tamiflu if they have symptoms such as sneezing or sniffles, which could signal an impending case of flu.

“You have to wonder what the thinking is at the CDC when it decided to recommend Tamiflu as a first-line treatment against the flu,” write Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer, an investigative journalist and frequent contributor to BMJ.

“An FDA committee declined to approve Tamiflu in 1999 after finding that Tamiflu had not been shown to reduce pneumonia or mortality,” they write. “But FDA administrators overruled the expert advisers and approved the drug. The agency later instructed the company to issue the following statement: Tamiflu has not bee proven to have a positive impact on the potential consequences … of seasonal, avian, or pandemic influenza.”

Read the full story, published 2/19/13 in The Atlantic.

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