The flu kills people.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates 3,000 to 49,000 people die annually from some form of the influenza virus.
In 1918, the Spanish Flu killed 50 million people, more than three times as many as died during the five years of World War I. Most of the deaths occurred in Europe, but more than 600,000 died in the U.S.
The Spanish Flu virus was global. Only one place, a small island in the Amazon River, was untouched by it.
When 3 to 5 percent of humanity dies, people get scared. And, governments start spending money to try and prevent such a thing from ever happening again.
The U.S. has spent billions on a flu drug that does nothing to save lives or prevent the spread of the flu, reports the BBC.
A study conducted by the non-profit Cochrane Collaboration says Tamiflu, the trade name for the antiviral drug Oseltamivir, only slightly reduced the amount of time flu sufferers experienced symptoms.
Scientists involved in the study say Tamiflu’s side effects — nausea, headaches, psychiatric events, kidney problems and hyperglycaemia — make it more hazardous than helpful.
Eight children who took the drug in Japan ended up committing suicide after suffering psychotic episodes, reports The Telegraph.
“I think the [money spent on Tamiflu] has not benefited human health in any way and we may have harmed people,” said Carl Heneghan, professor of Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University.
The company that makes Tamiflu, Roche, said, “We disagree with the overall conclusions. ” The Swiss drug manufacturer warned that not stockpiling Tamiflu could “potentially have serious public health implications.”
The only benefit the Cochrane study found from taking Tamiflu was a reduction in the time patients experienced flu symptoms. Adult’s symptoms were reduced from 7 days to 6.3 days, children’s to 5.8 days, says the BBC report.
Wendy Barclay, who researches the influenza virus at Imperial College London, said reducing symptoms in children would be “pretty beneficial.”
Cochrane researchers said another drug, acetaminophen (aka Tylenol), is just as effective at reducing symptoms.
How much as been spent on Tamiflu? Over $1.3 billion has been spent recently, but billions more have been spent since 2005, when a bird flu outbreak in Asia got the world’s attention.
U.S. politicians turned to Tamiflu, which had been introduced in 1999 but had never had huge sales.
In 2005, the U.S.scrambled to hoard millions of doses of the drug that were never used.
Conspiracy theorists like to point out that former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once served as the chairman of the U.S. company that licensed Tamiflu’s chemical recipe to Roche, and saw his personal wealth soar during the alleged crisis.
In 2005, the U.S. defense department spent $58 million on Tamiflu in just one month.
Since 2003, only 385 people on Earth have died from any strain of bird flu, reports CNN.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t need more drugs. I suggest a daily vitamin.
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