Critics attack chief medical officer’s advice to use antivirals for flu

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 13 February 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1496
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1BMJ

Latest government advice telling GPs in England to use antiviral drugs for certain patients with influenza was “disgraceful” for failing to take account of the evidence and for wasting scarce resources, critics have said.

In a notice issued to GPs and others on 27 January, Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, and Keith Ridge, the chief pharmaceutical officer, said that surveillance data indicated that there was now a “substantial likelihood” that people presenting with an influenza-like illness were infected with a flu virus.

They said that GPs may now prescribe antivirals “at NHS expense” for the prophylaxis and treatment of flu to people eligible under guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and …

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