Posts Tagged ‘Flu Symptoms’

Effects of influensa medicines exaggerated by sponsored research

October 8, 2014

I have posted earlier about how flu vaccines tend to be over-hyped and over-promoted. A new study confirms that research sponsored by pharmaceutical companies were much more positive than those by independent researchers.

The manufacture and sale of flu vaccines is enormously lucrative. Just in the UK the program costs £120 million every year. Worldwide just influensa vaccine sales are an estimated $4 – 5 billion. The total vaccines market is expected to grow from about $30 billion in 2012 to about $40 billion in 2015! For adult vaccines the biggest growth comes from public health programs pushing influensa vaccines:

Moreover in public health programs

The names of the members of the committees which recommend wholesale flu vaccinations are often shrouded in secrecy and often  – when revealed – are found to have unhealthy ties to the manufacturers of the vaccines.

Swedish Radio reports:

In the world of research meta-analyses, reviews of research studies available, act as a quality assurance. But when Australian researchers reviewed 26 meta-analyses of so-called neuraminidase inhibitors it was apparent that researchers sponsored by pharmaceutical companies had made more positive conclusions than their independent counterparts.

The study is published in Annals of Internal Medicine, writes The Guardian.

But the phenomenon is not new in the scientific community.

“There are lots of examples of how corrupt the system has been” said Björn Beermann, former professor at the MPA.

Last spring, it was revealed through the research network Cochrane that Tamiflu in principle was ineffective and that the pharmaceutical company Roche had regularly concealed “negative” research findings. It caused a debate about Sweden’s decision to buy into a giant stock of Tamiflu for a quarter of a billion kronor. Globally the bill amounted to nearly seven billion kronor ($1 billion).

In recent years it has become more difficult to conceal studies with undesirable results. Now, all the studies that seek publication have to be notified in advance of the study being conducted.

Flu vaccines are “over-promoted and over-hyped” and of limited effectiveness

November 21, 2012

I am rather suspicious of the enthusiasm with which influensa vaccination programs are pushed by some (including the WHO). The manufacture and sale of flu vaccines is enormously lucrative. Just in the UK the program costs £120 million every year. Worldwide just influensa vaccine sales are an estimated $4 – 5 billion. The total vaccines market is expected to grow from about $30 billion in 2012 to about $40 billion in 2015! For adult vaccines the biggest growth comes from public health programs pushing influensa vaccines:

Driving that growth is an increasing acceptance of adult vaccines and the public health focus on flu prevention, ……  world sales of adult vaccines reached $12.5B in 2010, up from $10.1B in 2009 largely on strong growth of influenza vaccines. ….

….. Most vaccine revenues are earned by five companies: Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Pfizer, and Novartis. They held nearly 80% of the market as of 2010.

The names of the members of the committees which recommend wholesale flu vaccinations are often shrouded in secrecy and often  – when revealed – are found to have unhealthy ties to the manufacturers of the vaccines.

Something smells!

The Independent takes up the issue:

The flu vaccine given to millions of people each year in Britain is “over-promoted” and “over-hyped” and the protection it offers against the seasonal illness has been exaggerated, scientists claim. Flu causes thousands of deaths, mainly among the elderly, in the UK each year but the vaccine is of limited effectiveness, especially for older people. One expert told The Independent the Government should be held accountable for “wasting taxpayer’s money” on the annual £120m national vaccination campaign. ….

… A report published by the Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, US, says the misperception that existing flu vaccines are highly effective has become a barrier to developing new and better vaccines. It also risks undermining public trust in mass immunisation campaigns if Governments fail to tell the truth about the vaccine. ….

…… Flu vaccine has to be re-formulated every year on the basis of an educated guess by experts who attempt to match it with the strains of the rapidly mutating flu virus likely to be circulating that season.

A 2010 review by the highly respected Cochrane Collaboration, an international network of experts, concluded that the vaccine had little impact in years, like the winter of 2011-12, when the vaccine and the viruses were mismatched.

On average, flu vaccine shortened the illness by about half a day but did not reduce the number of people hospitalised, it said. …….


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