Every day I get emails that are more or less like the ones below, which I received this morning:
My name is Francisco. I am very sick and I don’t have a lot of money. I live in Mexico and I have Hep c and I need to do the treatment and you please email me and see what I need to do.
We need to purchase affordable meds for my fiancé.
He has no insurance and can’t get any. Can you help? He spoke with you a few days ago via email about what happened and what he needs to do. But he’s very nervous. We both are sceptical. And we need advice please and thank you!!!
These two emails resonated deeply with me because, in the most simple way, they described the position of tens of millions of people around the world who are infected with Hepatitis C and can not afford to buy the treatment.
I completely understand the way that Francisco and others feel, knowing that they dying from a disease that could be easily cured except for the fact that the cost of the medication is outrageously high.
I understand this because in 2014, when I first learned that I had Hepatitis C there were no generic treatment options and there was no way that I could afford the $100,000 that Gilead was asking for the treatment that I needed.
Then in 2015, when generic Sovaldi became available, I was only able to get it because friends and family lent me the money to make the trip to India and buy the medication. Through all of that process, at every turn, I was helped by complete strangers; people who I did not know helped me to make all the necessary connections to find the right people in India and then to buy the correct medication.
For this reason, I have dedicated my life since then to helping people from every walk of life and from every nation on Earth to access affordable Hepatitis C treatment.
Not many people in the world can afford to pay the prices Big Pharma is asking for its Hep C medication so generic Hep C treatment gives people who are not rich, and do not have access some form of health insurance, a means of curing their Hep C. But in many countries where low income is the norm even the price of generics Hep C treatment is too high for many. In these cases I have been working on promoting the treatment of Sofosbuvir + Daclatasvir, which is the cheapest and most effective pan-genotype Hep C treatment.
In opposition to my mission there have been forces that have tried to interrupt or stop what I am doing.
Since 2015, when I first started helping people to access affordable Hepatitis C treatment, Big Pharma has tried various methods to try to stop me doing what I do.
Only a week or so after I started blogging about my visit to Indian to buy generic Sovaldi my website was hacked, and my password changed so I could not access it.
After that there was influence brought to bear of Western Union to block transfers to me from people needing Hepatitis C medicine. That was a major blow against people in poorer countries where many people do not have a bank account and whose only way of moving money internationally is by Western Union. This meant that many people in poor countries could not pay for medication even if they had the money to do so.
Western Union is a USA based and USA owned multi-national.
Soon two other USA based multinational money transfer companies, PayPal and MoneyGram, joined Western Union to block poor people from sending me payments.
But there are always ways around barriers and I found them.
Along the way there were various attempts at hacking my website but the web hosting service I used, Homestead, was always very helpful in sorting these attacks out and getting my website back online.
Homestead was a small “family” company which I had been using for nearly 15 years, long before I learned I had Hepatitis C.
I had six different websites hosted by them, most of my websites were related to History and Archaeology because I am a historian and archaeologist.
Then Homestead was purchased by another big USA based multi-national called Endurance.
In August 2017, more than two years after starting my Hepatitis C support website, I received the email below:
It has come to our attention that potentially unlawful business has
been conducted through your services with us. As a web hosting
company, please understand that we reserve the right to investigate
all complaints that have been received, and take necessary action at
our sole discretion if it has been deemed that there is fraudulent
or illegal activity taking place through our website or email services.
Upon review of a third party complaint and your account activity, we
have determined that we are not the most appropriate host for your website –
hepatitisCtreatment.homestead.com<http://hepatitisCtreatment.homestead .com>, we request that you remove this site from our servers within 48 hours. If the site has not been removed from our servers within 48 hours then your account and websites will be suspended.
Homestead Compliance Team
Despite the fact that there was absolutely no illegal activity taking place on my website. Despite my request for information about the complaint. Despite literally hundreds of emails, from people I have helped, to the “Compliance Team” stating that my website was an important resource for people with Hep C. Despite my offer to remove anything that could be shown to be illegal.
Despite all these efforts my Hepatitis C Treatment website AND all my other history-based websites were destroyed by Endurance. Almost 20 years of work destroyed with the flick of a switch.
Of course, I created another Hepatitis C support website with a web host that was not USA based. But all my other history and archaeology websites are gone.
So, despite the efforts of Big Pharma I continue to offer online Hepatitis C support and access to affordable Hepatitis C treatment.
But Big Pharma is a powerful beast and has not ceased its attacks on me.
The most recent attack was basically an attempt at character assassination, spreading rumours and misinformation about me and my work.
I was alerted to this next round of attacks by the email below, which I received a couple of weeks ago.
….. I wanted to tell you one other thing.
I have been very hesitant.
I hope you will not say anything to anyone. I was told you were able to get cheap medications because you were buying black market hep C medications. I don’t know who is involved in this (spreading this rumour). I did not ask for specifics nor ask questions. Someone who I have high regards for told me. The person was not accusing you. It is just all hearsay as far as I know. I don’t know where this information came from or why it is circulating. I just thought you should know.
I do know your heart and your passion for helping others.
Please do not say anything to anybody. I don’t want it to come back and bite me in the butt. ……….. I am taking some time to learn more about hepatitis C and its repercussions, trying to spread information on my Facebook page, etc. I try to remain impartial….. but still too many who do not realise how difficult it is to get testing and medical treatment. Okay that is off my conscience.
Now I have no idea what the “black market” Hepatitis C medicines would be, because as far as I know there is no “black market” for Hepatitis C medicines. There are only generic and non-generic medicines. But the implication in this rumour is that somehow I am selling sub-standard Hepatitis C medication.
To help you better understand the Hep C generic world, generic Hep C medicines can be divided into licensed generics and unlicensed generics. Licensed generics are made under direct license from the owners of the patents for the drug and the license involves sharing of all interlectual property associated with making the drug. This means that licensed generics are IDENTICAL to the brand drugs. As a strict matter of principle I only deal in licensed generic Hep C medication.
Some suppliers of generic Hepatitis C medication offer unlicensed medication, these unlicensed generics come from countries such as Bangladesh, China and Egypt.
I supply only licensed Hepatitis C medication. That is medication that is licensed by the USA based patent holders. Either Gilead for generic Harvoni and Epclusa and Sovaldi and Bristol Myer Squib for the generic Daklinza. I only supply licensed generic made in FDA and WHO approved and certified pharmaceutical laboratories. The two manufacturers I use are the USA pharma company Mylan and the Indian pharma company Hetero Pharmaceuticals both are accredited by the World Health Organisation and the USA’s FDA.
Of course, people do often ask why my prices are so low, it’s a fair question with a simple answer.
The reality is that I am able to provide generic Hepatitis C medication at low prices for one simple reason: I am not greedy, I do not care about profits and I believe strongly that lack of money should not be barrier to getting treatment.
It has been wisely said that “Love of money is the root of all evil.”
It is an ancient saying that is very true today and demonstrated in almost all areas of life. The love of money, greed, can be found as the root cause of so many (if not all) of the world’s problems today. Too many people put wealth and ambition ahead of just about everything in the mistaken belief that wealth will bring happiness.
Loving kindness to others is what will bring happiness.
So when I first started helping people to get generic Hepatitis C medication back in 2015 I made a conscious decision that I would not seek to profit from doing this. I supplied the medication at exactly what it cost me and gave people an option of paying me a small, optional fee to help cover my time.
As the demand for my time and services grew, because of legal requirements, I had to create a more manageable business structure to handle the hundreds of thousands of dollars that people were sending me, so I formed a company and set up correct accounting and business procedures.
The price is now one that includes a margin to allow me to earn a small income from my work. Actually, to be totally transparent, my weekly wage is AUD$600.
I work at least 40 hours per week and seven days a week.
But whilst I have a set price on my website I have always made clear to everyone who contacts me that I will remove the profit margin, the fee, if requested and supply medication at cost, even below cost. This is stated in bold print at the end of all information documents I send out and also in my website on numerous pages.
For me it is not, and never has been, about the money… it is about getting people affordable treatment from licensed manufacturers of generic Hepatitis C medication. I am particularly committed to helping people with low incomes access Hepatitis C treatment. Poverty should not be a barrier to accessing Hepatitis C treatment.