Why won’t Roche release its data on flu drug Tamiflu?

Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is a drug made by the pharmaceutical company Roche and it’s licensed for the treatment of influenza. Not so long ago, the UK Government dished out about a million packets of Tamiflu over the phone, though, it subsequently turned out that only about 20 per cent of those dispensed the drug had the infection causing concern at the time (the H1N1 virus or ‘swine flu’). You can read more about this here.

In the blog post I focus on a 2009 review by the international collective of researchers known as the ‘Cochrane Collaboration’ which concluded that the evidence did not support the claim that Tamiflu reduced the risk of flu complications such as pneumonia. Perhaps even more worrying, Roche appeared to be none-to-keen to release the data on which the claims for the benefits of Tamiflu had been made.

This issue has not gone away either. The British Medical Journal has set up a concerted campaign complete with bespoke website which aims, essentially, to force Roche to cough up its data.

And it’s not just Roche that is being made to feel a little heat here, as the World Health Organisation is also implicated in the affair. It was the WHO that declared the flu ‘pandemic’ in 2009 that sparked the stockpiling of Tamiflu in the UK and elsewhere. Yet, later that year an investigation into conflicts of interest within the WHO revealed links between those who created the planning guidelines for the flu ‘pandemic’ and Roche.

The BMJ/Tamiflu website includes this very handy timeline that summarises this affair nicely.

One can only speculate about why Roche is reticent about sharing the relevant data. I don’t think I’m the only who suspects the company has something to hide. It’s likely, I reckon, that Tamiflu is not as effective as the company led us to believe, and probably is more hazardous than Roche would likely to know too.

If this is how things turn out, then Roche could rightly be accused of not just profiteering, but downright fraud. Fraud that not only cost us financially, but perhaps in terms of our health too.

No doubt, Roche would get a hefty fine for any wrongdoings, just as GlaxoSmithKline did recently for a series of crimes you can read about here.

In the case of GSK, no-one went to jail despite proof of illegal practices. I think it’s good that the BMJ and other bodies are looking to increase scrutiny and enforce more ‘corporate responsibility’. I, though, would welcome more personal responsibility being enforced in this area too, with the perpetrators of these crimes (that’s what they are) being named, shamed and jailed.

8 Responses to Why won’t Roche release its data on flu drug Tamiflu?

  1. Barry Danser 2 November 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    This is the Oral version of the same drug lots of side effects are shown here . Is this relevant?

  2. Richard 4 November 2012 at 2:49 am #

    The rich and powerful, and their faithful assistants, know very well what they are doing. They are in control and their wizardry mystifies and subjugates all of those who are not alert… Hence, institutions such as the World Health Organization were created to make us believe that they are bastions of good practice, barriers against misconduct, when they actually legitimise and protect profits.
    Sometimes, I wonder if all of those flu and other epidemics that hit the world occasionally were not created in labs so some could profit from the misery of millions…

  3. DanC 4 November 2012 at 6:26 am #

    Roche is not alone. ALL drug trials are unscientific (Double-blind, placebo-controlled be damned — DBPC is just as easily manipulated as any other methodology). Very few big-pharma principal investigators release raw data because it would reveal the truth: No study involving living beings can ever be repeated to get the same results.

  4. helen 5 November 2012 at 12:41 am #

    The world needs to stop putting it’s faith in organisations like WHO and the equally corrupt WTO they are the bullies of the corporate world seemingly working to help the world’s population but in fact only out to line the pockets of the big pharma and big agriculture.
    The whole “pandemic” nonsense was totally a beat up all of them are except the real ones that happened long ago …………..I am as are many others getting tired of all these so called “experts” tell us their fairy tales of woe, doom and gloom for mankind ………both of these organisations are responsible for pushing their hidden agends be they veganisim or codex alimentarius ……………not designed to help but to continue the profiteering of the big conglomerates in the globalisation push of ideologies that worship the gathering of wealth at any cost!!

  5. Sterl 13 November 2012 at 2:05 am #

    Good article. I’ve included a link in my blog for it. The Truth will always come out, though sometimes it takes a bit of time. If you are interest in the latest info on vaccines, stop by my blog at http://healthygreennews.com/. i check the news each day for info.
    The BMJ timeline was eyeopening.
    Sadly I have had to suspend commenting there because of all the spam I received lately.

  6. Chris 23 November 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    “globalisation push of ideologies that worship the gathering of wealth at any cost!!”

    As it happens, “money is the root of all possibilities” (Lietaer). ..
    .. But that is only the case if currency systems are designed and adopted on the basis of well-informed choice. ..
    .. And unfortunately the overwhelming number of ruling regimes around the world generally only collect taxes via currency systems that are not especially well designed and are accepted on anything but well-informed choice.
    A poorly designed money system results that the enterprising activities that contribute to the economy place more importance upon the effect on the balance sheet and P&L accounts than upon the functional merit delivered to the end user.
    Money is not the root of all evil. However, imperfectly designed currency systems are indeed responsible for great injustices, poor policies, and short sighted methodologies.
    There are money sceptic authors whose works may clarify your intuition, helen.


  1. Flu vaccination ‘over-promoted’ and ‘over-hyped’ according to researchers | Dr Briffa's Blog - A Good Look at Good Health - 28 February 2013

    […] This would not be the first time accusations have been made that Government’s have wasted money on the ‘management’ of flu. Earlier this month we had a similar situation with the flu drug Tamiflu: The UK Government has spent millions on this drug and dished it out like sweeties, yet its manufacturer (Roche) is steadfastly refusing to release proper data on its effectiveness and safety. You can read about this rather sorry state of affairs here. […]

  2. Why won’t drug companies give up all the data they have on flu medications? | Dr Briffa's Blog - A Good Look at Good Health - 23 May 2013

    […] in November I wrote about the drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu), and specifically the fact that its manufacturer (Roche) has […]

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