Ben Goldacre Slams Roche For Tamiflu Scam, Yet No Mention of GSK for Relenza?..


The UK government has spent £473 million on Tamiflu and £136 million on Relenza since 2006, and other countries have stockpiled it too.

When the government made the decision to stockpile the medications its medicines regulator MHRA had not seen all of the evidence” 

(From AllTrials :


In a recent post I drew attention to how Roche and GSK basically defrauded the UK Government/Tax Payer out of almost half a billion pounds by stockpiling the practically useless drugs, Tamiflu ( by Roche) and Relenza (by GSK).

The post was basically an article I pasted by Sarah Boseley, of the Guardian, in it she mentions how the UK wasted money on both flu drugs. See Here:

Britain had stockpiled these flu drugs in case of an outbreak and after the (media induced) hysteria about Swine Flu died down, subsequent inquiries in recent times, found that not only was the supposed epidemic merely media hype, but the supposed effectiveness of both the drugs in question were also vastly over hyped too.

It is estimated that over half a billion pounds was wasted on these drugs, with Roche’s Tamiflu costing the lions share at over 400 million while Glaxo’s Relenza cost the country almost 136 million pounds.

The vast majority of media reports about the Swine Flu Scam have included the names of both companies and both drugs, apart from,
it seems Ben Goldacre’s reporting, also, in the Guardian

I think Mr Goldacre should explain why he consistently berates Roche for Tamiflu, yet rarely challenges (or focuses his attention on) GSK about their misdeeds.(see here)

Is there a little favoritism here towards GSK on the part
of Mr Ben Goldacre perhaps?…

I have written before about his strange admiration for GSK’s Andrew Witty…

See the link-

Here is the headline from Ben Goldacre’s spin on the
Swine flu scam:

“What the Tamiflu saga tells us about drug trials and big pharma

“We now know the government’s Tamiflu stockpile wouldn’t have done us much good in the event of a flu epidemic. But the secrecy surrounding clinical trials means there’s a lot we don’t know about other medicines we take”

I have read through the whole article, and although it is extremely lengthy, there is not one mention of GSK’s flu drug Relenza, or the fact that, according to the other reports (including from Ben’s Alltrials website) Relenza cost the UK almost one hundred and thirty six million pounds…

Ben does mention GSK in his report, but he mentions them in a positive context (however there is no mention of the Relenza scam, GSK’s behavior in the Swine Flu swindle, or the 136 million of their wasted stockpile).

It’s almost as if Goldacre has chosen to omit GSK’s large part in this scandal

Ben Says:

“While the battle for access to Tamiflu trials has gone on, the world of medicine has begun to shift, albeit at a painful pace, with the European Ombudsman and several British select committees joining the push for transparency.

“The AllTrials campaign, which I co-founded last year, now has the support of almost all medical and academic professional bodies in the UK, and many more worldwide, as well as more than 100 patient groups, and the drug company GSK.”

Goldacre also mentions the amount of ‘half a million’ wasted pounds, but he only mentions it in relation to Tamiflu, which gives the distinct impression than it was only Roche with Tamiflu (and not, in part, also GSK with Relenza) that defrauded the UK people and the UK government out of this money…

Make from that what you will…

Ben goes on to say:

“Should we have spent half a billion on this drug?

That’s a tricky question. If you picture yourself in a bunker, watching a catastrophic pandemic unfold, confronting the end of human civilisation, you could probably persuade yourself that Tamiflu might be worth buying anyway, even knowing the risks and benefits”.

And in any case, that £500m is the tip of the iceberg. Tamiflu is a side show, the one place where a single team of dogged academics said “enough” and the company caved in.

For a comparison  with Ben’s reporting, see some of the other headlines and articles below:

From Alltrials:
“The UK government has spent £473 million on Tamiflu and £136 million on Relenza since 2006, and other countries have stockpiled it too. When the government made the decision to stockpile the medications its medicines regulator MHRA had not seen all of the evidence”.
“Full access has allowed us, for the first time, to quantify the harms and the lack of benefits of Tamiflu and Relenza, which have been extensively stockpiled around the world. What we need to do now, is have the courage to make all clinical study reports available for treatments that are currently available and used.”
“Dr Ben Goldacre, author and co-founder of AllTrials:
This is a pivotal moment. Tamiflu has become the poster child for clinical trials transparency”

Whereas, presumably, now GSK have become the poster-child for ethics?..

The mind boggles…

Ben Says:
“there’s a lot we don’t know about other medicines we take”…
There certainly is a lot we don’t know about medicines  Ben.. but there’s also a lot we don’t know about the pharmaceutical companies who make them.. considering what we do know is dreadful, appalling, disturbing and sinister… then what we don’t know would likely be utterly horrifying…


  1. Olev Salasoo

    You’re just asking questions. We all do. Only some of us do some digging with the will and desire to reveal more of the truth. And only a fraction of them come up with verifiable and open results. Let us know when you find something concrete to throw at Dr Goldacre.
    Why don’t you ask him directly? Tell us what he answers!

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