Monday, December 14, 2009
When it comes to selling chemicals that claim to treat H1N1 swine flu, the pharmaceutical industry's options are limited to two: Vaccines and anti-virals. The most popular anti-viral, by far, is Tamiflu, a drug that's actually derived from a Traditional Chinese Medicine herb called star anise.
But Tamiflu is no herb. It's a potentially fatal concentration of isolated chemical components that have essentially been bio-pirated from Chinese medicine. And when you isolate and concentrate specific chemicals in these herbs, you lose the value (and safety) of full-spectrum herbal medicine.
That didn't stop Tamiflu's maker, Roche, from trying to find a multi-billion-dollar market for its drug. In order to tap into that market, however, Roche needed to drum up some evidence that Tamiflu was both safe and effective.'