Girl 'almost died' after taking Tamiflu
11 August 2009
TV presenter Andrew Castle has told how his daughter "almost died" after taking Tamiflu following a swine flu outbreak at Alleyn's School in south London.
Castle said his older daughter Georgina was given the anti-viral drug when five pupils were diagnosed with the illness in May.
He added that the 16-year-old, who has asthma, had a "respiratory collapse" and "suffered very heavily" after being "just
handed" the drug without having been properly diagnosed.
He confronted Health Secretary Andy Burnham on GMTV after Oxford University research cast doubt that the anti-viral drug's benefits outweighed its side-effects.
Mr Burnham sympathised with Castle, saying it must have been "very worrying", but maintained that advice to parents to treat swine flu with Tamiflu remained unchanged.
He said Georgina would have been given Tamiflu during the earlier "containment" phase of swine flu.
Given that swine flu had a "disproportionate effect" on children, he maintained that Tamiflu is "our only line of defence".
Mr Burnham said the research dealt with seasonal flu, not swine flu, and added: "That's a very important distinction.
"Swine flu is a new virus, it's early days and we're adopting very much a safety-first approach to tackling the illness."
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