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Neuraminidase inhibitors for preventing and treating influenza in healthy adults: systematic review and meta-analysis

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 08 December 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b5106

Publicly available information

I make no claims to be experienced in understanding clinical trials,
nor even to have a medical background: I am by training an engineer.
However, it was clear as long ago as June that the use of oseltamivir in
combating the current 'pandemic' A/H1N1 strain was neither
straightforward, nor without an element of risk.

Under the auspices of Godfrey Bloom MEP (Yorkshire & North
Lincolnshire) I undertook an analysis of existing publicly available
information relating to oseltamivir treatments and arrived at conclusions
which, to a layman such as myself, do not differ greatly from those in
this report.

Several questions arose from this research which deserved an answer
much earlier in the debate. These included:

whether the widespread use of oseltamivir would result in increased
resistance as appeared to be suggested by de Jong, Thanh and others (New
England Medical Journal, 12/2005) and Dharan, Gubereva, Meyer et al
(Journal of the American Medical Association)

Whether oseltamivir was more dangerous than the A/H1N1 it was
supposed to treat/prevent, as suggested by the US FDA (Pediatric ADRs to
Tamiflu, 2007), Maxwell's Tamiflu and neuropsychiatric problems in
adolescents (BMJ) and the work of Rokura Hama.

Whether the rush to use oseltamivir to treat A/H1N1 was related to
the imminent expiry of stockpiles purchased in 2005 in the previous 'bird
flu' scare which would have lead to the destruction of pharmaceuticals
worth £500m in the UK alone.

As someone involved in advising policy on these matters, I was
mystified as to why the scientific community could not address these
issues at the time and, worse, actively sought to deflect dissent to the
prevailing view which appeared to amount to 'unless we all take
oseltamivir we'll die of H1N1'. I am perfectly happy to accept that my
understanding of medicine may well be at fault in my interpretation of at
least some of the studies I quote, but there has always been a significant
body of opinion which has questioned both the seriousness of the supposed
A/H1N1 pandemic, and the efficacy of oseltamivir as either a treatment or
a prophylaxis. For any who are interested, my own analysis was published
at . My apologies for the title, but I am a
journalist and not a medical professional.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Croucher

Head of Media

Europe of Freedom & Democracy Group,
European Parliament,

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

04 January 2010
Mark C Croucher
Head of Media, EFD Group in the European Parliament
B1000 Brussels, Belgium