Drugs company Roche has said they fundamentally disagree with the findings of the Cohrane Collaboration, which says that the UK has wasted millions on Tamiflu, a drug made by Roche which is stockpiled by governments worldwide to globally prepare for flu pandemics.
According to the review in the British Medical Journal, the drug, which was given to thousands of Britons during the swine influenza outbreak, was based on Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche's "false impression" of Tamiflu's effectiveness, which was based on its "sloppy science".
The UK Department of Health bought around 40 million doses of Tamiflu at a cost of £424 m after Roche claimed that the drug would reduce hospital admissions and complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis or sinusitis. It was prescribed to nearly quarter of a million Britons.
Roche responded to the report in a press statement:
"Roche fundamentally disagrees with the overall conclusions of the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group's (ARI) report on Tamiflu. We firmly stand by the quality and integrity of our data, reflected in decisions reached by 100 medicines regulators across the world and subsequent real-world evidence demonstrating that Tamiflu is an effective medicine in the treatment and prevention of influenza. Roche welcomes third-party research and is dedicated to sharing clinical data for our medicines in the interest of advancing science. However, we do not consider the ARI Group, who have identified themselves as inexperienced in dealing with such data, to be the final authority on the value of neuraminidase inhibitors. Roche believes it is important that public health bodies and influenza experts provide their opinion on this review, alongside the totality of Tamiflu data, before any conclusions are drawn."