Tamiflu: an expensive lesson in panic stockpiling


Halleluja. I have been raging against the protocols enforced on RACF residents with this stuff. We are being told that we should show antibiotic stewardship yet it seemed everyone goes into a panic when it is the flu virus and drugs with poor efficiency are foisted upon the patients at great costs

drjustincoleman

Swine flu

Oseltamivir (Tamiflu, Roche) has been downgraded by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the biennial review of its list of essential medicines.

A WHO expert committee removed Tamiflu from its list of “core” medicines, relegating it to the “complementary” list, a category used for drugs with consistently higher costs or less attractive cost-effectiveness.

This represents the latest blow to a drug whose sales hit $4 billion in 2009, riding on the back of worldwide stockpiling during the swine flu pandemic.

The spectacular rise and slow fall of Tamiflu is a cautionary tale worth remembering, if only to protect us from ourselves, the next time the public stampedes to pour money into the coffers of private industry.

Don’t forget; among the newspaper headlines screaming at politicians to stockpile Tamiflu in 2009, there was no shortage of doctors’ voices criticising any delay in access to the drug. Plenty of public health advocates—nearly…

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