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Tamiflu fears grow as key data remains unseen

Safety concerns over the effects of anti-flu drug Tamiflu still remain as key trial data continues to be withheld.

A report by the Cochrane Collaboration says pharmaceutical company Roche's refusal to provide access to its data “leaves critical questions about how well the drug works unresolved”.

The investigation, while allegedly hampered by a lack of data, found Tamiflu appears to affect antibody production - a claim refuted by Roche.

“Until more is known about the mode of action of neuraminidase inhibitors, health professionals, patients and other decision makers need to reflect on the findings of this review before making any decision about the use of the drug,” says the report.

Cochrane researchers also doubted Tamiflu's ability to prevent the spread of influenza - a key reason for many government stockpiles of the drug around the world.

"In the BMJ in December 2009, Roche promised full study reports to any legitimate investigators,” said Dr Peter Joshi from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“They have not provided a single full study report to Cochrane, despite our repeated requests."

Question: Will this reluctance to provide data put you off prescribing Tamiflu?