Intended for healthcare professionals


Government says it would stockpile Tamiflu again

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 22 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6386
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

The government has said that it would stockpile the antiviral drug oseltamivir (marketed by Roche as Tamiflu) again, despite large amounts of previously bought supplies being written off and questions raised by experts over its effectiveness, MPs have been told.

Government witnesses appearing before the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee on 20 October insisted that oseltamivir, which was used to treat pandemic flu, was worth having. Between 2006-07 and 2012-13 the Department of Health for England purchased nearly 40 million units of oseltamivir, costing £424m (€535m; $685m). However, only 2.4 million units were consumed, mostly during the flu pandemic in 2009-10, and over the same period 10 million units were written off, many because of poor record keeping about their storage environment during the pandemic.

MPs asked witnesses if the conclusions of a review published in March this year by the Cochrane Collaboration were fair, on the basis of having finally received from …

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