A major new study suggests billions may have been wasted worldwide on a flu drug it says works no better than paracetamol.
The report claims Tamiflu does not prevent the spread of flu or reduce dangerous complications, and only slightly helps symptoms.
Many countries stockpiled the drug in recent years amid fears of bird flu and swine flu pandemics. Figures from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee say the UK spent £424 million (512 million euros) on stockpiling Tamiflu.
But the review by the Cochrane Collaboration – independent experts based at Oxford University – says evidence about the drug’s effectiveness was flawed and the public had been misled.
The manufacturers Roche Pharmaceuticals have strongly rejected the report, saying the drug has been approved by 100 regulators worldwide, used by 130 million patients, and is recommended by the World Health Organisation.