In 2006, bird flu didn’t become the killer pandemic everyone feared. In
fact, there were no confirmed deaths in developed countries from bird
flu. But the alarm, stoked by Western media reports, led to an
unexpected—and unfortunate—outcome: A rash of abnormal behavior,
hallucinations, and even deaths attributed to Tamiflu, the medicine
marketed as a key drug capable of fighting the disease. In November,
the Canadian health ministry issued a warning on Tamiflu after 10
Canadians taking the drug had died suspiciously. And the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration received more than 100 reports of injury and
delirium among Tamiflu takers for a 10-month period in 2005 and 2006.
That’s nearly as many cases as were logged over the drug’s five-year
trial period. For now, the cure seems worse than the disease.