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British medical journal questions Roche

Tamiflu has been stockpiled by dozens of governments worldwide in case of a global flu outbreak.
Thomas Kienzle/Associated Press/File 2009
Tamiflu has been stockpiled by dozens of governments worldwide in case of a global flu outbreak.

LONDON — A leading British medical journal is asking the drug maker Roche to release all its data on Tamiflu, claiming there is no evidence the drug can stop the flu.

The drug has been stockpiled by dozens of governments worldwide in case of a global flu outbreak and was widely used during the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

On Monday, one of the researchers linked to the BMJ journal called for European governments to sue Roche.

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‘‘I suggest we boycott Roche’s products until they publish missing Tamiflu data,’’ wrote Peter Gotzsche, leader of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen. He said governments should take legal action against Roche to get the money back that was ‘‘needlessly’’ spent on stockpiling Tamiflu.

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World Health organization spokesman Gregory Hartl said the agency had enough proof to warrant its use for unusual influenza viruses, like bird flu.

In a statement, Roche said it had complied with all legal requirements on publishing data and provided Gotzsche and his colleagues with 3,200 pages of information.

Associated Press