We all know that Tamiflu is a scam. But we are so used to these things being criminally hushed-up, that it comes as quite a shock when one of the world’s leading medical journal accuses Roche of massaging data to make their drug look effective when it isn’t.

The British Medical Journal ( BMJ) has alleged that pharmaceutical giant Roche is deliberately hiding clinical trial data about the efficacy of oseltamivir ( Tamiflu) in patients with influenza.

According to experts writing for the BMJ, global stockpiling and routine use of the drug are not supported by solid evidence (meaning it’s worthless and doesn’t work).

Moreover, they openly accuse Roche of concealing neurological and psychiatric adverse events associated with Tamiflu.

In an open letter published online October 29th, Fiona Godlee, MD, editor-in-chief of BMJ, to Dr. John Bell, Professor of Medicine at Oxford University and a Roche board member, she told Bell of concerns that surfaced as long ago as 2009 about the reliability of Tamiflu research.

She was pretty feisty and pointed out that, since only 2 of 10 registered trials (funded by Roche, of course) were ever published, it was clear the other 8 trials showed the ineffectiveness and dangers of Tamiflu, and were therefore suppressed. The published trials therefore can’t be trusted,  Godlee said.

Roche had promised to make complete clinical trial data available, but Cochrane researchers and BMJ complain the company has not done so. A clinical trial report typically consists of 5 modules, but only module 1 has been provided for each trial.

So, What Has Roche Got to Hide?

In January 2012, the Cochrane Library published an updated review that included unpublished data and revealed inconsistencies and incomplete data. In her open letter to Roche, Dr. Godlee explained, “The Cochrane reviewers now know that there are at least 123 trials of Tamiflu and that the majority (60%) of patient data from Roche Phase 3 completed treatment trials remain unpublished.” The obvious conclusion, says Godlee, is the likely overstating of effectiveness (or fraud, as we would call it) and the apparent under-reporting of potentially serious adverse effects (or criminal deception, as we would call it).

Meanwhile, in a media response to Dr. Godlee’s open letter in October 2012, Roche predictably denied withholding clinical data. Roche said it had provided the Cochrane researchers “with access to 3200 pages of very detailed information, enabling their questions to be answered.”

That means they point blank refuse to allow access to the remainder, the stuff they are hiding.

Why, Oh why, can’t these drug company executives just be jailed (for life) and have done with it?

New Policy

Hoping to prevent similar issues in the future, BMJ is instituting a new policy requiring pharmaceutical companies that sponsor clinical trials to commit to making relevant patient-level data available to physicians, scientists, and others who reasonably request it as a precondition for publication.

BMJ has not given up on its efforts to obtain complete clinical trial data from research on oseltamivir. In its first open data campaign, BMJ is making public all correspondence between the journal, Roche, the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I hope very much that the BMJ‘s campaign will succeed in making the full data on oseltamivir available to the Cochrane reviewers, so they can give governments around the world the true picture of this drug’s effectiveness and safety,” Dr. Godlee said.

Meanwhile, Tamiflu has just been added to the list of essential drugs alongside aspirin and beta blockers.

Notice that Roche are paying Professor Bell as one of their lackeys. That guy is teaching medical students. What’s he teaching them: lies, connivance, corruption—all at the patients’ expense, of course?

[SOURCE: BMJ. Published online October 29, 2012.