An official report has concluded that the Tamiflu drug issued in the wake of the bird flu hysteria has been a massive waste of time and money.

A study published by the Cochrane Collaboration revealed that hundreds of millions of pounds was wasted on the ineffective drug which causes serious “psychiatric adverse events, renal adverse events and metabolic adverse events” as part of its side-effects.

The British government spent over £473 million on the drug, which according to the report, did not prevent the spread of flu or reduce dangerous complications.

Described as an anti-viral drug, it was stockpiled from 2006 in the UK when some agencies claimed that a pandemic of bird flu could kill up to 750,000 people in Britain. Similar decisions were made in other countries.

However, many mainstream scientists say that it is not possible to cure a virus and preventing it from springing up again is unlikely, because of the changing nature and resistance of many viral diseases.

Drug companies do not publish all their research data and it is important to note that this report is the result of a long-standing struggle to publicise previously withheld data into the effectiveness and side-effects of the drug.

The report concluded that while Tamiflu was effective in reducing the persistence of flu symptoms by just under a day, similar effects could be found in other medication such as paracetamol.

Manufacturer’s of Tamiflu have previously claimed that the drug prevented complications such as pneumonia from developing.

However, the Cochrane report found that the trials were so poor there was “no visible effect”.

When the drug was first dealt out at the height of the mass hysteria around swine flu and bird flu, the drug manufacturers along with the authorities claimed that it could stop the slow spread of the virus to allow enough time for a vaccine to be developed.

This was completely rejected by the Cochrane report, which said that such conclusions were “unproven” and they added that “there is no credible way these drugs could prevent a pandemic”.

It also claimed that the drug had a number of side-effects, including nausea, headaches, psychiatric events, kidney problems and hyperglycaemia, among others.

Carl Heneghan, Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University agreed with the findings and said that not only has the drug had no beneficial effects, it could also have had very negative impacts on the health of those who took it.

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