The following are the symptoms associated with A-H1N1 (or as the media has been calling it - the Swine Flu):

* cough
* fever
* sore throat
* shortness of breath
* muscle and joint pain

The drugs Tamiflu and Relenza are touted as the most effective treatment against A-H1N1. The US White House has just confirmed that they are shipping Tamiflu and Relenza to the affected states. What you don’t know is that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is reported, by CNN, to be the major shareholder in Tamiflu. According to the CNN report: “Rumsfeld served as Gilead (Research)’s chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million, according to federal financial disclosures filed by Rumsfeld. ” Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that’s now the most-sought after drug in the world.

Rumsfeld isn’t the only political heavyweight benefiting from demand for Tamiflu, which is manufactured and marketed by Swiss pharma giant Roche. (Gilead receives a royalty from Roche equaling about 10% of sales.) Former Secretary of State George Shultz, who is on Gilead’s board, has sold more than $7 million worth of Gilead since the beginning of 2005. Another board member is the wife of former California Gov. Pete Wilson.

Before you go rushing off to buy Tamiflu, and make Rumsfeld richer, you should know about its side effects:

Common adverse drug reactions with oseltamivir therapy (oseltamivir is marketed by Roche under the trade name Tamiflu) include:

abdominal pain,
elevated liver enzymes,

Allergic reactions include:

anaphylaxis (Anaphylactic shock), and
Stevens-Johnson syndrome (a life-threatening condition affecting the skin in which cell death causes the epidermis to separate from the dermis - flesh-eating bacteria syndrome).

Other side effects include:

toxic epidermal necrolysis,
cardiac arrhythmia,
aggravation of diabetes, and
haemorrhagic colitis.

I don’t know about you but the treatment is far worse than the disease. Talk about jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.