The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Tamiflu:
It Was Good for Drug Profits

Jun 23, 2014

The government paid 1.5 billion dollars to Roche and GlaxoSmithKline for Tamiflu and Relenza, which were stockpiled, waiting for a bird or swine flu epidemic to break out. These drugs were supposed to prevent people catching flu and cure it if they did. But only the drug companies vouched for their efficacy. And they refused to allow scientists access to the data from their clinical trials.

Now, six years later, independent researchers have been able to evaluate the use (or uselessness) of these expensive anti-virals. And the verdict is that the best one can hope for is that they will shorten an illness by half a day.

The scientific establishment is up in arms, as are certain government advisers, over the waste of money and lack of rigorous guidelines to prevent such rash decisions. But ensuring that the big corporations get as much public money (and as many tax breaks) as possible is surely what “good” government under capitalism is all about . . . isn’t it?