The latest—and possibly last—salvo in a long-running debate over the merits of the influenza-fighting drug Tamiflu was fired off today, but it seems unlikely to quell skeptics or nurture unanimity around the drug’s effects.
For years, members of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international network of scientists who review medical evidence, have charged that Tamiflu’s benefits are overstated. They agree that if taken soon after symptoms surface, the drug reduces by about a day the length of time someone feels sick. But they dispute that the evidence—including 12 randomized trials conducted by Roche, which makes Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir—shows that it cuts down on serious complications, hospitalizations, and deaths. The Cochrane group has also put a focus on transparency in science: It argued that publication bias had left Tamiflu looking better than it really was.