According to a recent study conducted by Lancet, one of the most efficient drugs against the flu is Tamiflu, also known as oseltamivir, which was proved to reduce the flu’s symptoms in a day. Its superpowers are decreasing the risk of hospitalization for flu patients and also helped avoid the possible complications, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
However, in its capacity of anti-viral treatment for influenza, Tamiflu has also affected the patients with side effects such as nausea and vomiting. This didn’t stop it from making the list of “essential medicines” of the World Health Organization, and also from being adopted by many regulatory authorities across the globe. For example, Tamiflu was the number one medicine that governments approved for fighting the large swine flu epidemic from 2009 and 2010. During that pandemic, Roche Holding Ltd. has made a nice profit of $3 billion by selling Tamiflu.
On the other hand, sales have plummeted dramatically since 2010, boosted only by the fact that the last quarter of 2014 was marked by officials as a difficult “flu season” in the US. Due to this fact, Roche’s annual income went up, while exceeding analysts’ expectations for the company.
But Roche has had some harsh critics concerning the actual benefits of Tamiflu. In 2014, a review showed that the merits of the drug were a lot slimmer and, as a matter of fact, the unpleasant side effects outweigh them. However, the Lancet study which observed the efficiency of Tamiflu, conducted trials which proved that the drug is actually more effective than harmful. Almost 5,000 people were part of the study, and the drug beat the placebo counterpart by 21 percent, in a period of 23 to 98 hours.
The results, therefore, show that previous allegations about the ineffectiveness of the drug were debunked, and the analysis succeeded in proving Tamiflu’s benefits. One of the supporters of the drug, Peter Openshaw of the Imperial College London, admitted that, while the drug is not perfect, it is still a successful tool in battling the flu, even in the later stages of the infection.
Kevin McConway, expert in Applied Statistics, on the other hand, is reluctant in accepting the study’s results, explaining that it cannot establish on its own if the reduction of the illness’s symptoms should be traded in detriment of risking high risks of nausea and vomiting.
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