The songwriter Richard Ashcroft and his band have come under close scrutiny with regards their connection between 90s rock music and the UK stockpiling £473m of Tamiflu in 2006. The Cochrane Collaboration claims the drug had no positive impact on the flu pandemic and there is a growing suspicion that The Verve’s No.1, ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’, was a clear mission statement for future clinical trials.
This type of controversy has it’s origins in the 1970s, when private healthcare provider BUPA formed commercial links with pub band Dr. Feelgood, causing Malpractice to reach No.17 in the singles charts. One General Practitioner commented: ‘I’m not sure how pop stars can make meaningful diagnosis. Robert Palmer used to go round telling people he had a Bad Case of Loving You – I’m not even sure that is a legitimate medical condition. It’s simply ill advised to tell a family of a Girlfriend In A Coma to Live and Let Die or offer a Prayer For The Dying. And Athlete’s song Don’t Hold Your Breath, is simply cruel’.
While representatives of Mr. Ashcroft were quick to distance him from the pharmaceutical industry, but they did admit his ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ was a tribute to his own adult addiction to strawberry flavoured Calpol. Meantime drug companies have consistently hidden data that relate to their products; including side effects such as My Chemical Romance’s ‘Cancer’, Madness’ ‘Cardiac Arrest’ or Foreigner’s less serious ‘Double Vision’.
The GP added: ‘There’s a lot of dubious collaborations between drug companies and the rock world. Korn’s Love & Meth may seem logical but there are downsides. If someone says Myxomatosis has transferred to humans, don’t just take Radiohead’s word for it – do some randomised control trials. Although I think everyone would like an answer to Frank Zappa’s -Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?’. Subsequently the World Health Organization still classifies Tamiflu as ‘essential’, but it acknowledges criticism is also mounting for the band Placebo.