Greg Jefferys Hepatitis C blog deals with all the issues associated with hepatitis C
I’m sitting in an airplane high above the central Australian desert. The pilot announced few minutes ago that we had just flown over Uluru, the huge red monolith that is the spiritual center of Australia.
It is nearly a year ago that I was sitting in another plane flying over central Australia on my way to Chennai in India on my quest to find and buy generic Sofosbuvir.
So much has changed since then.
Back then, a year ago, my body was wracked with the Hepatitis C virus. My liver was quite rapidly being destroyed. My ALT was around 800 and the doctors thought I might have liver cancer. If I received the slightest bump I bruised. If I got the smallest scratch I bled and was slow healing. My nose bled if I sneezed.
My brain was in a fog caused by my poor liver functions.
I was exhausted most of the time and spent hours in bed every day. I was rapidly approaching cirrhosis. My eyes had a slight yellow colour to them. My blood was poison and even my wife was scared of accidentally coming in contact with a drop of my blood.
I was scared to play with my grandson in case I infected him.
In a nutshell I was sick and getting sicker by the day.
Things are different now, on this flight.
Today the Hep C virus is gone, has been gone for more than 8 months. My health has returned on all levels.
I don’t bleed or bruise all the time, my head is clear and my thoughts are coherent. I can walk for hours in the mountains or swim for hours in the sea.
Now instead of flying to Chennai to find a cure for my disease I am flying to Spain, to share the news of my cure. To Barcelona, to attend the annual EASL Conference and talk about how important generic Hep C medicines are for the tens of millions of people across the world with Hep C. To talk about it with the liver specialists, many of whom are watching patients die because they can not access these new Hep C medicines because of the prohibitive costs.
The paper that I co-authored with Dr James Freeman and others will be presented by Dr Freeman at the conference and I sincerely hope that it will make medical professionals, particularly liver specialists, aware of then importance of generics, particularly licensed Indian generic Hep C med’s.
It is kind of ironic for me because much of my reading last year was of the papers presented at the 2015 EASL conference. The papers that presented the most recent and up-to-date test results for treating different Hep C genotypes with different combinations of the new Hep C antiviral drugs.
It was a steep learning curve for me because until August 2014 I did not even know what Hepatitis C was. Suddenly Hep C became my world.
Fortunately I enjoy research and managed to bring myself up to speed on the latest test results and treatment options thanks to the online publication of the 2015 EASL papers.
Now I am off to hear a report presented at the 2016 EASL Conference that I was able, in a small way, to contribute to.
Life is strange
3rd April 2016
Over the last few months I have done a number of interviews with journalists and one of the common issues that is raised about the cost of generic Harvoni, generic Sofosbuvir and generic Daclatasvir is:
“The drug companies like Gilead all say that they need to make a profit to justify the expenditure on research needed to develop these new drugs.”
So I thought I might just spend a little time here running through the concept of profit and research. And the truth and lies behind Gilead’s claims.
Firstly I want to make very clear that I am totally in favor of pharmaceutical companies making a profit and being rewarded for their efforts in developing new drugs such as Sofosbuvir, Daclatasvir and Ledipasvir. These are fantastic drugs and the people who discovered and developed them should be both applauded and rewarded.
However how much of a reward, how much of a profit is the real question. And what is the cost of that profit?
A fair profit is fine, a good profit, even a substantial profit; this is fine. But not an obscene profit.
Not a profit that condemns millions of people to long suffering and a slow death.
Not a profit that makes the marketing people into billionaires with more money than any human could ever need or use.
Not a profit that drives people to despair and anger and frustration because they know a cure is available but not accessible to them because of the price, a price that is so artificially inflated that it bears no resemblance to the cost of manufacture or the cost of research.
So let us be clear.
The cost to make a tablet of Harvoni is about 65 cents. The cost to make a tablet of Daclatasvir is less than 20 cents.
Gilead sells one tablet of Harvoni for around $900. Bristol Myer Squib sells one tablet of Daclatasvir for about $500. This is not a fair profit, it is not a good profit, it is an obscene profit.
Let us look a little deeper into Gilead’s claims that it must charge this price because of all the money it spends on research.
As far as I know Gilead did not spend any money on research because it simply purchased the patents for Sofosbuvir from the people who developed it. The exact amount Gilead paid for Sofosbuvir I am not certain but I believe it was around US$5 billion. Gilead made at least that much in profit selling Sovaldi in just one year. At last count I believe that Gilead has made nearly 20 billion dollars profit from Sofosbuvir.
Gilead’s research was not pharmaceutical research, it was market research. Gilead spends lots of money on developing ways of exploiting markets for maximum profitability. That is to say exploiting the suffering of sick people for the maximum profit.
Someone once said to me that Gilead’s marketing motto is: Buy or Die
Gilead also spends lots of money on court costs trying to secure markets and prevent competition. Trying to stop people with Hep C access affordable treatment.
Gilead and the people who developed Sofosbuvir could have gone down in history as wonderful, incredible people who saved millions from suffering and death through this new medical technology.
Like Dr Fleming who discovered penicillin or Dr. Jonas Salk who discovered the vaccine for polio. These two scientists, these two incredible humans, did not even apply for a patent on their momentous discoveries because they realized how important they were to humanity and ending suffering. They wanted every one on Earth to have access to them.
Gilead and the people who developed Sofosbuvir could have been honored through time like Fleming and Salk but instead they will be despised. Remembered only for their unbridled greed and callous disregard for human suffering.
4th April 2016
In London and Hacked Again
Some regular readers may have noticed a bit of a gap in my postings over the last week and people who have tried to email me definitely would have found that my emails bounced back for a couple of days.
Yes my computer was hacked again. A simultaneous attack on my website software and my email account resulted in me being unable to make any posts on my website and all emails that were sent to me for about 48 hours simply bounced back to the sender without appearing in my mail box at all.
Not being very IT savvy I would have no clue how that was done.
I contacted the the people who run the website through and they were not able to fix the website access. They said that there was nothing in their system preventing me posting or editing my website. So they suggested copying and then deleting the last couple of pages from the website and then installing them.
So I’ve now done that and I think it may have fixed things.
With the emails, after getting some advice I went through and deleted every email with an attachment that I have received in the past three weeks. That seems to have fixed the emails.
Actually I was a bit surprised that this had not happened earlier. I know that Big Pharma monitors my website and sends me “dummy” emails pretending to be a person with Hep C seeking information. That’s how they keep track of what I’m doing.
I guess the fact of the upcoming presentation at the EASL Conference annoyed them and someone could not resist attacking me through the website and email.
As long as they stick to that and do not resort to worse attacks…. I do have to admit being a little worried about Big Pharma using more sinister ways, more permanent ways of stopping me.
Make no mistake that the people who run these big international pharmaceutical companies are totally ruthless. They put profits ahead of lives as a matter of every day business practice.
These are people who see making profit as the most important thing. They knowingly, willingly, happily, let tens of thousands of people die every year in the name of greater profits. One life here or there is nothing at all to them.
So I am aware that they have the ways and means to silence me permanently if they think it is in the best interest of their profits.
Do you think that I am being a bit too paranoid?
EASL Conference Approaches
Well Dr Freeman’s presentation at the 2016 EASL Liver Conference is going to be a big thing. I can not mention the details of his presentation because there is an ’embargo’ until after the presentation; however I can tell you that this presentation on Hep C treatment using generic DAAs will have a huge impact on international Hep C treatment options and I am very proud to have made a small contribution to this important work.
One of the wonders of the 21st century is that I can still keep in contact with everyone even when I am traveling. Because of email and the Internet and the small team of dedicated people that I work with we are able to keep helping people access generic Hep C treatments from Indian and Australia regardless of where in the world I am.
Right now I am in London where I have met up with a couple of folk who I assisted to access Indian generic Hep C meds. It really is wonderful to hear their stories and the new hope and energy they have found in this cure.
Of course the down side of that is that I also hear how “anti-generic” the NHS and UK Medical Establishment is and how doctors in the UK down right refuse to even monitor their patients who have chosen to take control of their own health and treat themselves with generic Hep C medicines rather than wait to qualify for treatment through the NHS.
Basically the NHS, like the health insurance industry in the USA, triages patients with Hep C and people have to be near to cirrhosis or have cirrhosis before they qualify for the new Hep C DAA treatment.
So people are being told to wait until they sustain permanent liver damage before they can get treated.
Sorry but that is just so stupid. In effect the NHS is saying:
” Yes you are sick but we are not going to treat you until you are very, very sick.”
This is contrary to all health wisdom which says that the best thing to do with any sickness is to treat it early.
It is like saying to a cancer patient
“Well we know that you have cancer but we’ll just wait until the cancer has spread a bit before we treat you.”
Absolutely crazy. The longer a person has Hep C the more chance there is of developing liver cancer. The closer to cirrhosis a person gets the more chance there is of having permanent liver damage and then developing liver cancer.
So the NHS is saying to patients:
“We are going to wait until your chance of getting liver cancer increases before we treat you.”
And then when someone says that they do not want to wait for that and will treat with generics the NHS doctors get angry and refuse to monitor them.
There is something very wrong with the UK’s NHS system when it comes to Hepatitis C treatment.
I would like to finish by drawing a comparison between the doctors in the USA and those in the UK.
For those of my readers who have read my earlier posts on this subject of doctors not supporting patients choosing the treat their Hep C with Indian generic medicines you may recall that I threw the doctors in the UK and the USA in the same bucket and referred to them all with the same disdain.
Things have changed.
Six months ago if a person with Hepatitis C in the UK or USA went to their doctor and asked them for a prescription for generic Harvoni or generic Sofosbuvir it was almost impossible to get one.
Actually in the UK six months ago things were better than they are now as there were three doctors who would write prescriptions for generic Hep C medicines. Today there are none (well none I know of).
It was the same in the USA six months ago, there were very few doctors who would write a script for generic Hep C treatment.
But today in the USA things have changed and most people with Hep C in the USA can now find a doctor who will write them a prescription. Not all but most. In the UK it has gone from three to none and in the USA it has gone from a few to many.
Why the difference?
In both the USA and the UK there are plenty of people getting cured of Hep C by generics. In the UK and the USA it is now a well known fact that generic Hepatitis C treatments are just as effective as the branded versions.
However in the USA doctors have started to support their patients and in the UK they have just got more and more offended by the fact that their patients have decided to take the matter of their own health into their own hands.
Its a kind of arrogance, a kind of power trip.
Or a total lack or courage.
Of course there are doctors who would like to write prescriptions for generic Hep C treatments, I know a few who have and a few who would like to, however the BMA, the British Medical Association, immediately crushes any doctor who dares to do this.
And so in the UK there are no doctors who will write prescriptions for Hep C meds and in the USA the number of doctors who will write prescriptions for generic Hep C meds increases every day.
The really crazy thing about this is that the UK has the best rules on the entire planet for importation of medicines for personal use and people in the UK with Hep C do not even need a doctor’s prescription to import generic Hep C medicines.
But of course it is always better to have a prescription and always better to have a doctor monitoring your treatment.
But you know what the best thing is? To get rid of your Hep C!
8th April 2016
Cyber Attacks continues
Well it has got interesting as the EASL Conference draws near.
Since I announced, on this site, that I was attending the 2016 EASL Conference all my online activities have come under sustained cyber attack.
As I have already mentioned this website went down for nearly one week and I was unable to post or edit the site.
I was told by the folk at the main server that their computers were totally secure so I guess that the problem came from my computer.
Anyway that now seems to be fixed.
At the same time as my website was attacked my Outlook email service was also attacked.
As previously mentioned all emails that were sent to me from people around the world simply bounced back to the receiver. I believe with a message that my inbox was full.
Of course my Inbox is not full as I regularly archive, delete or move emails from my Inbox.
It appears that one of the people I am corresponding with is a “mole” pretending to be a person with Hep C and sending me attachments with some little nasty things hidden in them.
So from getting 100+ emails everyday I now get between zero and 20… not too sure how those ones get through. And I am really sorry if I have not answered an email you sent.
Please try again. I do hope to have this sorted soon.
Not being too IT savvy I am not really sure how to get around this. I might have to install some new malware software.
Any suggestions from any of my readers about how I can stop this happening would be appreciated. Of course it might be difficult to send me advice by email so please message me on Facebook.
Also if you are having trouble contacting me please also use Facebook messages.
11th April 2016
Email and website back up and running.
Well the hacking thing is annoying but has not been too serious.
I had to delete and re-post a couple of pages from my website and spend a bit of time on my emails but it is now all fixed and running.
I got a bit of advice from a guy who knows more about this field than I do, made my password more complex, got a better malware protection system, deleted all suspect emails with attachments and changed my habits with opening all emails.
Staying in London has been interesting because my family originally came from London, my great grandfather migrated to Australia as a 16 year old with his older brother who was 18. They came just the two of them after the death of their father to make a new life for themselves in the ‘colonies’.
What a different world, a 16 year old and an 18 year old sailing across the world to a country where they knew no-one to start a new life.
In London my wife and I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, walked through Hyde Park and went to a few galleries and a concert played by the London Symphony Orchestra. All great stuff but the highlight for me was visiting the East End dockside area. There I visited an old pub where my ancestor and Baron “Hanging Judge Jefferys” was arrested as he tried to flee the UK after his patron King James II lost the civil war with William III. The Hanging Judge died in the Tower of London.
We had lunch and a beer the that pub where he was arrested, The Whitby Prospect, the oldest pub on the banks of the Thames built in 1547 and still pretty much still in its original state.
Yes I now let myself have the occasional beer or glass of wine. And I do enjoy it!
12th April 2016
Barcelona and the 2016 EASL Conference
I am on the plane with my wife flying to Barcelona. We woke at about 4 a.m. this morning even though we had planned to wake at 5 a.m. … worried about sleeping in and missing the taxi we had booked for 5.45 a.m.
Of course we could not get back to sleep so we got up re-packed our bags, had some coffee and toast then went down 15 minutes early to wait for the taxi.
The wait was a little tricky because we have been staying with Jan’s brother in an apartment in an estate on the East Side. The estate has several blocks of appartments and several entrances from three different roads.
Of course we waited at the wrong entrance and as the time passed I decided to scout out the other entrances and found the taxi parked by one of them waiting for us.
The ride to Gatwick was smooth and then we were back in an airport and wondering what the next few days would unfold.
I have to admit to being slightly paranoid about going to the EASL conference. That paranoia being slightly inflamed by my wife’s concerns about what kind of tricks Big Pharma might decide try on me.
I know it sounds a little paranoid and I am almost embarrassed to write down my feelings about this but these things are in the back of my mind a lot at the moment.
Back in Tasmania, where everyone knows everyone, it is not something I worry too much about but in a place like London or Barcelona, full of strangers, I would be lieing if I said I was not a little concerned about what kind of “accidents” could happen there.
Of course I hope I am being stupid.
On a more positive note I have great expectations for the outcomes from Dr Freeman’s presentation of our paper on the 16th April.
We do very much hope that the international audience if liver doctors there will be interested in hearing about generic Hepatitis C treatments and that the international press will pick up on the theme of the terrible injustice of the way that the new Hep C meds are priced. We hope that the end result will be that generic Hepatitis C treatments will be prescribed more frequently and become more accessible.
14th April 2016
Barcelona and the 2016 EASL Conference.
The EASL Liver conference has been running for 30 years, for the first 20 years it had a policy of little or no corporate sponsorship and had attendances of around 2,000 health professional at it annual event.
About ten years ago it changed its position and now Gilead and Bristol Myer Squib and other big international drug companies are major sponsors. (Not a surprise given that the big international drug companies are also major sponsors of many of the liver specialists who attend EASL).
In the last ten years the attendance at EASL as risen to about 10,000 people. I believe that the full week costs about $2,000… so do the sums. EASL is a now a BIG business in its own right. That said there is a wide range of speakers on all subjects related to the liver and the quality of much of the work is exceptional.
So I went to EASL yesterday and today. I went and listened to Dr Freeman’s press conference, his presentation was excellent but there were only about eight media people there and most were cub reporters. One had been put in at the last minute and did not know a thing about Hep C or the new drugs or the issues around generics.
There was no-one there from the mainstream media or any of the large news services. I was rather disappointed but Dr Freeman took it all in his stride.
I can not mention anything about Dr Freeman’s presentation because there is a media embargo on it until Sunday the 17th of April, at which time I will post it.
I should say though, that it will change the way people think about generic Hepatitis C treatment. There are big changes afoot folks. Big Pharma is trying to block the generic Hepatitis C treatment but it will come through.
15th April 2016
Doctors without Borders and Doctors with Biases
Before I go into the “important news” of the day I would like to extract some sympathy from my readers.
When I arrived in Barcelona I could feel the beginning of the flu. Now it has become a full blown case of the flu.
I would like, for poetic reasons, to call it the Spanish flu but the truth is that I certainly picked it up in the London tube.
Then, last night, my wife and I decided to sit down for a meal under the shade of a grove of large trees. My wife had a sangria and I had a nice cold beer.
As we sat there, nibbling our tapas and sipping our drinks a steady rain of flower petals fell from the surrounding trees. It was quite lovely visually however it turned out that it would not be so lovely for me.
These trees were plain trees and they can produce an intense allergic reaction in some people, it turned out I was one of those people and by the time we had returned to our hotel room my sinuses and eyes had swollen so much that I could not breath through my nose and I was coughing and sneezing all night.
It is enough to say that I had a very unpleasant night with very little sleep.
Now I have finished complaining I will get onto the important news.
Barcelona has been an interesting experience on a lot of different levels. On the positive side I have met some wonderful people who are dedicated to improving access to affordable medicines across the world.
Last night I met a group of people who included members of Doctors Without Borders and Drugs for Neglected Diseases and other NGO groups from around the world. These are dedicated people who have devoted themselves to fighting against the corporate greed, embodied by companies like Gilead, who are the source of so much suffering around the world.
One of the fantastic things I found out is that a major Egyptian pharmaceutical manufacturer has been working in conjunction with socially minded scientists in the USA to develop cheap new Direct Acting Antiviral (DAAs) molecules that are as effective as Sofosbuvir and Daclatasvir but do not infringe those patents.
Apparently this work has been a great success and we can expect to see a full 12 week treatment of Hep C DAA Sofosbuvir and Daclatsvir equivalents for sale for LESS than $500.
Already trials have been carried out on more than 400 people with Hep C G4 using these drugs and the results were actually a little better than branded Sofosbuvir and Daclatasvir. As well as placing enormous pressure on the prices of the Big Pharma drugs these new Hep C DAAs will be a very affordable option for people with Hep C where their government allows the importation of generics.
Of course the USA based drug companies will fight this by arguing that a Hep C patient can not trust drugs made in Third World countries. Apart from being racist, untrue and total rubbish, this view ignores the fact that the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for Harvoni and other Gilead Hepatitis C drugs are made in Jordan and that the tablets are made in Ireland. (I’m not calling Ireland a t’ird world country)
One of the not so good things that happened to me whilst attending EASL in Barcelona was that I am again reminded that there still exists a terrible ignorance, prejudice and arrogance associated with certain members of the medical profession regarding generic Hep C treatments.
For example, I had, with considerable effort, arranged for a doctor attending EASL to bring encapsulated APIs of Sofosbuvir and Daclatasvir for a patient from Serbia with Hepatitis C Genotype 3.
This Serbian person has had Hep C for quite a few years and failed the Interferon treatment several years ago. She now has advanced cirrhosis with the associated risks of further liver disease such as liver cancer.
Obviously she was quite desperate to find a way to access Sof+Dac and had heard that I have helped a few people in Serbia to get access to these drugs via a few “back door” ways.
She contacted me several months ago for help and sent medical reports and a prescription for Sofosbuvir and Daclatasvir. Then we ran through all the normal options. The first of these is to try to send to a country with good rules for importing medicines for personal use. However she did not have relatives or close friends in places like the UK or Romania or Bulgaria where it is relatively easy to import the Hep C meds.
Nor could she afford to fly to India.
And she had no contacts in the Serbian Customs department that might turn a blind eye to a packet of medicines coming through. Because Serbia has terribly harsh rules against importation of medicines for personal use it is impossible to send generic Hep C medicines to Serbia by post or courier. However, as with many countries, it is possible and legal to bring medicines home on one’s person.
Then, when I realised that I would be going to Barcelona, I suggested that if she would be able to fly there then I could organise for the medicines to also be there.
At first I had hoped that a doctor from Bangladesh would be able to bring Darvoni (generic Sof+ Dac). But I could not organise it.
Then I found a contact in India who was intending to attend EASL and was prepared to bring licensed Indian generic Sofosbuvir and Daclatasvir to Barcelona. This person was happy to do this service for free, simply to help a person with Hep C access affordable treatment.
So I contacted the Serbian woman and she booked her flight to Barcelona. Then a week before the start of EASL I received a message from India that my contact that they would not be able to be at EASL and so could not bring the Sof+Dac.
Knowing that the Serbian patient had already booked and paid for her fare I contacted an Australian doctor who I knew would be attending EASL but had not left Australia yet.
I explained the situation and asked him if there was any way he could bring the Sofosbuvir and Daclatasvir from Australia, where it is readily available in API form. He agreed and we were all good to go again.
So the plan was that this doctor friend of mine, one of Australia’s leading Hepatitis C specialists with extensive experience with generics, would bring the Sof+ Dac to EASL and the patient would fly from Serbia and pick up the medicines here in Barcelona and then return home with them.
My friend managed to get a 24 week supply of compounded Sofosbuvir + Daclatasvir and brought it to Barcelona. The patient from Serbia arrived in Barcelona the day after I did and we arranged to meet and for me to give her the medicines.
All was going well enough until the patient’s doctor, who was also attending EASL, found out about the plan.
This doctor went off her nut! (She went crazy).
She accused the Australian specialist, a highly qualified and respected expert in the field, of being grossly irresponsible and negligent, stated that the generic Sof+Dac would be dangerous and could harm her patient etc etc.
Of course the patient under this kind of pressure from her specialist began to worry. There was a flurry of emails and phone calls between us as I tried to allay the fears that the Serbian doctor had instilled in her patient. I contacted two doctors who were giving presentations on Hepatitis C treatment using APIs and asked if they would speak to the Serbia doctor to explain that the APIs were safe. They both agreed to meet her but the Serbian doctor refused to meet with them.
It was all very distressing and despite my best efforts to convince this patient to take the medicines home with her she had a complete change of heart and decided she would not to use the Australian generics. So with no other treatment options in the near future and having suffered a severe emotional battering by her doctor she flew home to Serbia without the medicine.
So what has this doctor achieved?
The patient has no other obvious treatment options. I hope she finds some way to get access to the Sofosbuvir and Daclatsvir from some other source but with G3 and bad cirrhosis the sad but likely prognosis is that, without treatment she will probably die within a year or two.
But at least the doctor has saved the patient from taking generics!!!
Well done Doctor.
16th April 2016
A lot happened today and it is very interesting to notice that the tide that has been slowly turning in favor of generics over the past year suddenly today turned completely and finally in favour of generic Hepatitis c treatments.
Amazingly the President of EASL issued a statement discussing the importance of generic Hep C treatment and making generic DAAs accessible to all people with hepatitis C.
Of course today is The Day, Generic day, the day that James Freeman will present his paper on the treatment results of more than 480 Hepatitis C patients treated with generic Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs).
These patients have all completed treatment and are a true cross section of the Hep C infected population with all genotypes represented and at all stages of infection and liver health. All genders and ages are represented with significant numbers from every continent on Earth.
I should also make clear that these are not all the patients who have completed generic treatments, only the patients who have provided their lab data from pre-treatment to post treatment. It does not include the many hundreds of people, like for example from the UK and Ireland, where they had problems getting their doctors to hand over copies of test results. It does not include people who were told by their doctors that they were clear but had no lab reports to back it up and so on.
It only includes data where the patient has official pre-treatment data and post treatment data and that data has been passed onto James and his team.
Importantly it includes data from all generic DAA sources. From people who did their treatment with Twinvir or Darvoni from Bangladesh, people who treated with licensed Indian generics, people who used generics compounded in Australia from APIs from China and also from people who imported APIs from China direct and made them into doses themselves.
What were the results?
It did not matter if a person treated their Hep C with generics from Bangladesh, Australia, India or China the results were exactly the same as if they had used the branded DAAs, Sofosbuvir or Ledipasvir from Gilead or Bristol Myer Squib’s Daclatasvir.
There was no difference at all, the cure rates were exactly the same, the relapse rates were the same, the side effects were the same.
And all the fear campaigns that have been waged by Big Pharma and its many pawns and minions across the medical world, the ‘specialists’ who get huge research grants from Big Pharma and the so called “Hep C Advocate” organisations who get huge amounts of money every year from Big Pharma, all their warnings and scare mongering has been shown up to be the veil of lies and deception that most of us knew them to be from the start.
Today, the 16th of April 2016, marks a pivotal moment in the lives of the 150 million people around the world with Hepatitis C whose governments or medical institutions or personal doctors have been blocking their access to generic Hep C treatment.
Today is the day when there is inarguable proof that generics are as effective and as safe as the branded versions of Sofosbuvir and Daclatasvir and Harevoni and there is no reason why any doctor or medical institution should deny assistance to a patient who wishes to use them.
Indeed I would go so far as to say that the patient of any doctor who refuses to write a prescription for generic treatment would have every right to sue that doctor for gross professional negligence, because that is what it is.
18th April 2016
I have now left Barcelona and returned to the UK where my wife and I are touring Britain in an old motorhome.
Every five years since our children became adults we have come to the UK to travel through the English countryside of our “mother land” for 12 weeks.
It takes us about five years to save the money then we fly here and buy a second hand motorhome and fit it out as our little home on wheels and spend our time visiting places of historic or natural interest.
This year we have joined the National Trust and English Heritage so will spent time visiting castles and old stately homes and the many places of nature beauty across Britain.
Fortunately, because of the wonders of WiFi and the internet I am still able to keep in contact with everyone one and my small group of associates in India and Tasmania. So we are are to keep generic Hep C treatments flowing out into the world, to the people who need them.
The news about the effects and repercussions of Dr Freeman’s presentation have been truly profound.
One person I know, who has been attending the EASL conferences for ten years wrote and told me that she had never heard such louod and long lasting applause ever before at EASL.
At last those doctors who were keenly aware of the great injustices being inflicted on people by companies like Gilead and BMS had a rallying point and a leader, a spokeman, a focal point.
During question time doctor after doctor stood and expressed their profound frustration and anger at seeing patients dying when they knew that the cure was easily available and access treatment was being blocked either by price or government regulations or both.
Prior to Dr Freeman’s presentation he and I had met with another co-author of the Freeman paper, Dr Andrew Hill from the Imperial Colledge in London.
Before the presentation we all met for lunch, Dr Freeman, Dr Hill and Dr HIll’s two research assistants Dis and Anna.
It was a very interesting lunch and very wonderful for me to be able to sit with three other people who were happy to talk for hours about Hep C and Hep C treatment options because usually there is no-one that I can talk about these things with.
So we sat and talked about all the recent developments. Dr HIll’s two research assistants brought wonderful fresh insights into the discussion.
Of all the Hep C related issues discussed one stands out in my memory, this relates to the use of Chinese APIs in the treatment of Hep C. This came up because I mentioned the Serbian doctor’s refusal to allow her patient to be treated with Australian generics made from Chinese APIs.
The story was related of a man with Hep C who purchased the APIs through Mesochem and, not having access to capsules or filler to bulk out the API simply used a set of micro-scales and divided the API into 84 equal doses and took them wrapped in a bit of rice paper.
He was cured.
So this leads me to the next subject of discussion, on the next page, and that is what about Chinese APIs as a viable treatment option.
They are still be far the cheapest option and also very easy to ship in the mail because the parcel is no larger than a letter or document envelope.
So in my next post I will review what we know about APIs, their use, cost, advantages and disadvantages