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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Playing Hide-the-Ball With Data

"But at least 70 people have died, many of them by suicide, after Tamiflu-induced episodes. The deaths were almost surreal: A 14-year-old who took Tamiflu jumped off a balcony, and a 17-year-old on the drug ran in front of a truck. Scientists documented other cases of "psychopathic events," including a South Korean girl who temporarily developed bipolar disorder and an 8-year-old Japanese boy who wouldn't answer to his name and began to growl.

Tens of millions of people have taken Tamiflu without incident, and you are far more likely to die from the flu than you are to have a dangerous reaction to the drug. And it's true that with many medicines a minuscule chance of death is usually tolerated—as long as the benefits far outweigh that risk.

But if Tamiflu does nothing, and there's even a slight chance of life-threatening side effects, why was it approved? And why continue to prescribe it? "

http://www.newsweek.com/2014/11/21/medical-science-has-data-problem-284066.html

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