Birmingham scientists have attacked the Government over how it treats swine flu victims claiming research shows Tamiflu drugs make no difference.
Researchers at Birmingham University have published findings that the antibiotic drug, given to thousands of suspected H1N1 patients before the swine flu jab was created, has no guarantee of preventing dangerous complications.
Professor Nick Freemantle and Dr Melanie Calvert from the University found that using Tamiflu on victims with no underlying health condition had hardly any positive effect.
“Our analysis suggests that you have to treat between 100 and 1,000 patients in optimum conditions to prevent just one person from developing pneumonia,” said Prof Freemantle.
“There is very little evidence to support the widespread use of the drug in the otherwise healthy population who develop signs of influenza like illness. We have remarkably few resources in this country to spend on pharmaceuticals on health and it’s surprising to see such widespread use of Tamiflu.
“However, the Government has gone out and bought a lot of doses of this drug.
“I suppose the situation is like that of gun control in the US. If you’ve got a gun in the house it’s much easier to use it, but that does not mean it is the right thing to do.”
The Government has stockpiled supplies of Tamiflu in preparation for a further significant outbreak of the virus this winter, and patients displaying symptoms have been prescribed the drug since the initial outbreak.
Findings have been published in the British Medical Journal.