31 May 2014

What's The Point of Drugs?

Via Bloomberg:
Tamiflu and Relenza, antiviral drugs stockpiled by governments to tame influenza outbreaks, haven’t been proven to prevent pandemics and may cause more harm in some patients than good, researchers said after reviewing 170,000 pages of clinical-trial data. 
The findings, published today in the journal BMJ, came from the Cochrane Collaboration, a nonprofit U.K. research organization, using information obtained from Roche Holding AG (ROG), maker of Tamiflu, and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), which sells Relenza. 
The U.S. has spent $1.3 billion, and the U.K. 424 million pounds ($710 million), stockpiling the drugs following a 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 swine flu. The Cochrane researchers, who examined the reports of 20 Tamiflu trials and 26 Relenza studies, found Tamiflu reduced flu symptoms for adults by 17 hours without curbing the number of hospitalizations. Tamiflu also caused vomiting, delirium and loss of kidney function in some patients. There was no evidence that using the treatments could stop a massive outbreak, the researchers said.
It amazes me that people even listen to pharmaceutical companies and doctors when it should be obvious that most of these people are simply making shit up and talking out of their asses.  When a proposed solution is ineffective or makes the problem worse, or even creates new problems, that's a sign that it is time to propose another solution.

What's weirder to me, though, is how there are certain types of Christians (that I've known, at least) who get upset at the thought of recreational drug use but don't bat an eye at pharmaceutical companies.  They hate recreational drugs fundamentally because they're illegal and are cool with pharmaceuticals because they are legal, even though the legality of a given drug is mostly arbitrary (e.g. some recreational drugs can have deleterious effects on the kidney, just like Tamiflu yet the recreational drugs are banned while Tamiflu is not, thus showing that health concerns aren't the deciding factor).

To get back to the topic at hand, pharmaceutical companies are no more trustworthy or reliable than the average street pharmacist, and those who put their faith in medicine are fools.  Successful pharmaceuticals owe their success more to marketing than real science.