Thursday, July 23, 2009

Free Tamiflu


Question 1 Do you feel lucky? Yes/No

So can anyone think of a good reason why millions of us will not hit the new NHS Tamiflu hotline and grab our personal supply while it's still available?

According to the BBC's health correspondent, you just go onto the new website, answer a few questions, and get your free Tamiflu voucher.

So given that there's not enough to go round, why wouldn't you do it on Day One?

The official answer from the Chief Veterinary Officer seems to be that doing that "wouldn't be right".

Er.... yesssss.

The only slightly more convincing answer given by Peter Holden, lead expert on swine flu for the British Medical Association is:

“There is a danger that we will give Tamiflu out too easily.” Tamiflu is associated with side-effects, including diarrhoea, vomiting and hallucinations, “so with just mild symptoms, very few people actually need it."


In other words, the drug is often worse than the disease, so I advise you to steer clear.

Except that if you're literally at death's door with swine flu, you're certainly going to risk the side effects of Tamiflu. So you're best bet is still to get some in before it runs out.

And even if you don't use it, you can always sell it online.

The current market price for a pack of 30 is $177.41. God knows if that's real Tamiflu, but as the epidemic spreads, desperate punters won't be asking too many questions. In fact, Tamiflu has already taken over from Viagra as the most spammed drug on the internet.

Of course, in reality you probably won't be able to do any of this. In reality, the Tamiflu hotline will be jammed with calls in seconds, and the website will fall over. You won't be able to get through.

The Tamiflu hotline - an NHS fiasco in the making.

Another one.

Update: The Doc has now delivered his definitive verdict: "I can prescribe Tamiflu, though as yet I have not. I would not take it, and I would not give it to my family, so why would I prescribe it for patients? What this means is that anyone with any vaguely viral symptom is going to get "treatment" for a condtion they probably do not have with a drug that is next to useless and may have hitherto unexpected side effects. Great!" So now we all know. Hope he's enjoying his hols and that he's staying away from the Welsh porkers.

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