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    Ian Cheong

    The small benefits of tamiflu have been known since its introduction in the market. A global economic crisis enabled a global swine flu epidemic to be a welcome political distraction, which the media swallowed whole. The tamiflu stockpile from the bird flu epidemic scare was going out of date and likely to end up in the bin. Better to use it for some benefit than bin it for none. Can’t see the cochrane review changes much on tamiflu. We’re still missing quality data on morbidity and mortality rates from swine flu.

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    Ian, in one sense you’re right that the review simply reinforces much of what was already known about the state of evidence on Tamiflu. But in one important respect it does change things, saying that there is no evidence to show that Tamiflu reduces serious complications in otherwise healthy people. Why I was so peeved by the Fed Health Dept’s response is that the national pandemic health management plan says “that the early use of NI antiviral medication (i.e. started
    within 48 hours of onset of symptoms) is anticipated to result in reduction:
    (a) in pneumonia in at risk adult population by 40%
    (b) in pneumonia in previously healthy adults by 50%
    (c) in pneumonia in children by 40%
    (d) in otitis media in children by 30%. ”
    I thought at the very least, the dept could have said they would examine the new Cochrane review and have another look at their own policies. Either that, or they should tell us what evidence they have (that the Cochrane team could not find) to back up the figures they are using above.


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