Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Monitor Children on Flu Drug, F.D.A. Urges

Need I say more, People?

Roche, the the big pharma company that has the dubious distinction of being the first to come up with the idea of the prescription-drug tie-in for a kiddie movie (see previous post), has, in this movie promotion, been pushing a drug, Tamiflu, through (the site listed on all the "Happy Feet" advertisements) that it knows is evil and kills kids:


Published: November 14, 2006

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (AP) — Doctors and parents should watch for signs of bizarre behavior in children treated with the flu drug Tamiflu, federal health officials suggested on Monday in citing an increasing number of such cases from overseas.

Food and Drug Administration officials do not know whether 103 cases recently reported, including three deaths from falls, are linked to the drug or to the flu virus, or to a combination. Most of the cases involved children.

Still, F.D.A. staff members suggested updating the Tamiflu label to recommend that all patients, especially children, be closely monitored while using the drug. They also acknowledged that stopping treatment with Tamiflu could harm influenza patients if the virus were the cause of delirium, hallucinations and other abnormal behavior like aggression and suicidal thoughts.

The pediatric advisory committee of the drug agency is to discuss the recommendation on Thursday. The agency is not required to follow the advice of its outside panels but usually does. A spokeswoman for the agency did not immediately return a call for comment.

A year ago, the same panel rejected linking Tamiflu to reports of 12 deaths in Japanese children since 2000 and voted against changing the drug label to suggest such a concern. At that time, however, the committee recommended that the drug agency continue to monitor the drug’s safety and return a year later with an update.

The panel decision after reviewing the update is likely to be closely watched because Tamiflu could have an important role in an outbreak of avian flu. The drug does not prevent flu but can reduce the length and severity of its symptoms.

Most of the 103 recent cases of bizarre behavior are from Japan, where the number of Tamiflu prescriptions is about 10 times that in the United States, with more than twice the population. The cases occurred from Aug. 29, 2005, to July 6, 2006.

The Japanese Tamiflu label now warns that disturbances in consciousness, abnormal behavior, delirium, hallucinations, delusions and convulsions may occur. It also recommends patients be carefully monitored and the drug be stopped if any abnormality is observed.

Even though severe flu cases of the flu can set off those conditions, the number and nature of the cases — along with comments from doctors who believed that the abnormal behavior was associated with the drug — have kept the drug agency from ruling out Tamiflu as the cause, according to agency documents.

The agency staff called the proposed changes prudent, because American use of Tamiflu could jump to Japan’s levels. The current American label mentions only “seizure and confusion” seen in some patients.

Tamiflu is made by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Holding. A spokesman for Roche did not immediately return messages for comment...

In any event, even as they try to turn the blame back to the flu virus, when's the last time you ever saw someone fall and kill themselves because of a bout of influenza? Sounds like something else to me...


Anonymous said...

Wow - I love your hello kitty logo! I just discovered this blog from Ideal Bite. Cool... though it's depressing to keep learning about the FDA, which seems to care less about harm than cash...

MomTFH said...

I got turned on to your blog by Ideal Bite also, and now I am a subscriber.

I ran with the AP story on Tamiflu on my blog:

GreenFertility said...

Thanks for the comments--yeah, Hilary, our stuff is all very similar!

And yes, before you take any drug (or when you shop) think, do I really need this? Likley not, actually!


Miranda said...

Happy Feet also has a tie-in with Burger King or another burger chain -- as we know, meat agriculture is one of the worst things for the environment. So much for an eco message everyone is celebrating in this cartoon. (Have you seen Fast Food Nation yet? interested in what you think of it...)

GreenFertility said...


I didn't know that about BK. I still think the whole anthropomorphic penguin thing is kidna silly in general. Haven't seen Fast Food Nation...I read the book! I dont' kow if I will...