Greg Jefferys Hepatitis C blog deals with all the issues associated with hepatitis C
Well I had my Fibroscan today. The Fibroscan 17th May 2015 went a little like this – It’s “a lay on the bed, roll up your shirt, hands behind your head ” and and then the doctor presses this probe thing firmly against the space between my ribs on the side over my liver. A little hammer in the probe thumps the flesh and a sensor reads the vibration that is set up in the liver. Liver elasticity test is another word for it. I did have one at the Hep Clinic in Hobart but this Chennai test was much more detailed, about 15 minutes of little rib thumps.
Of course the fact that I was too long for the bed caused the doctor and nurse some amusement as they chatted with me about my family and why I did not get the scan done in Australia. It was too complicated to explain so I just said it was part of another treatment I was getting in Chennai.
Once the thumping was done the doctor told me to come back in a couple of hours to pick up the results and take them back to the specialist centre.
Here I have to confess something.
When I picked up the results I did not take them back to the specialist centre but took them to photocopy and then back to my hotel room for a bit of a session with Doctor Google. Heck! My specialist was not there so it did not matter if I took the results back on Monday.
Now for a little shock.
As I mentioned earlier I had been given Ultrasound and CT scans of my liver and they both showed no signs of cirrhosis or tumours. That was a relief.
Now I discovered, thanks to Dr Google, that the Fibroscan results showed my liver at the bad end of the Fibroscan waveband, that’s F4 in Fibro language. It means I have fibrosis heading towards cirrhosis.
Which in turn explains why I have not been feeling too well of late.
Which in turn makes me glad that I bit the bullet and came to India because if I sat around back in Australia waiting to get sick enough to get treated, well according to Fibroscan by next year I would be very sick. Advanced Fibrosis can turn quickly to cirrhosis, then maybe even into liver cancer. However if I start my treatment next week I should be able to kill off the Hep C virus before the liver damage gets worse and give my liver a chance to repair itself (which I hear livers can do very well if given the chance.)
This brings me back to the point of who thought up the great idea of waiting until we Hep C sufferers get REALLY sick before giving us access to treatment????
How dumb is that? What happened to early detection and intervention? Are we being treated differently because some of us (certainly not all) got Hepatitis C from using drugs decades ago?
(At this point I am strongly resisting the urge to write swear words in capital letters and underlined directed at self righteous politicians and health bureaucrats )
Anyway that’s part of my news for the day, the rest is as follows.
Today I sent an email to the ‘distributor’ whose card the doctor gave me. The email bounced back.
This was worrying. I checked that I had spelt the email address correctly and I had. It seemed strange to me that a pharmaceutical distributor’s email address on his card would be wrong. It’s worrying but I will phone him on the phone number on the card tomorrow and see what happens. Perhaps there is a simple explanation? Everything is done differently in India and people seem to use their mobile phones rather than email.
But, as B asked, why was I buying the Sofosbuvir off a distributor and not from the pharmacy?
Because I have put this little diary out on the Internet I have been getting a few emails, mainly from people who found out about my journey from Hep C forums.
Some of these folk have asked me questions and some have offered me detailed advice about prices of the various generic brands of Sofosbuvir and other stuff.
One very kind Indian gentleman also emailed me with an excellent explanation of how the distribution system of some types of drugs in India works. Now there are pharmacies in India, I have seen them, but there also distributors from whom one can buy direct; if one has a prescription. This Indian gentleman suggested that to get the best price for my Sofosbuvir I should Google the Chennai distributors of Cipla , Natco , Mylan , Zydus and Cadila and then call them and tell them my situation and then ask for prices. Good advice, which I will follow up on Monday.
Another email received regarding prices:
….. Chennai is bit more expensive than other Indian cities.
You will see- the printed price on the bottle will be 19900 INR (apprx 330 USD) a bottle. the lowest you can go is 12000 INR (apprx 193 USD) a bottle. If you cannot get that low the highest you would pay is 16000 INR a bottle (apprx 250 USD) a bottle. This is because the MRP printed is inclusive of all profits for stockiest, distributor and retailer. You will be buying from the company guys so that’s why you will pay cheaper. Have a good evening.
That was really helpful and the first time I have been given a clear explanation of why there is such a wide range of prices mentioned in the various forums etc I have read.
Of course I have to test all this out on Monday. I really do hope it’s all correct and that I will have a three months supply of some form of Sofosbuvir in my hot little hands by Monday evening.
17th May… 4 a.m.
The body clock is still on Oz time. I woke up this morning thinking about my auto driver (auto-rickshaw) who pretty much sums up how things work in India when money is involved. I need to remind myself about it.
So on my first day here I went out looking for a barber who the hotel told me was up the road a bit. On the way a fellow leaning against his yellow rickshaw asked if I wanted to be driven somewhere. I said no, that I was going to a barber for a shave, he wobbled his head and smiled and that was it. I walked on but could not see the barber. A few minutes later the rickshaw man drove past, pulled over and pointed back to where I had come from and told me that I had walked past the barber and pointed out where it was. He smiled, wobbled his head and told me I walked too fast and drove off.
So I found the barber, had the best shave and beard trim I have ever had and went back to the hotel. Over that day I hired two auto rickshaws and was not very happy with either driver. In the late afternoon I saw the fellow who had directed me to the barber. I had a chat with him and asked him if I could hire him for the whole day tomorrow and how much it would cost?
He thought about it and replied 700 rupees ($15). I thought that was too little an amount and said 1000 rupees for the whole day. He smiled, wobbled his head and agreed and we met the next morning at 10 a.m.
Getting to Fort St George
Raj was a good choice. His spoken English was a bit difficult for me to understand but he understood everything that I said if I did not speak too fast; and he (eventually) took me to all the places I needed to go.
Then at the end of the day we got back to the hotel and I handed him a 1000 rupee note.
A downcast look swept across his face, ” Oh no sir, Oh no this is not enough. I have given you the whole day, not working for other people. I have driven you to the Fort Saint George and the hospital and many places. Many hours. This is not enough.”
“But yesterday we agreed on 1,000.”
“Yes sir but it is such a long day, the traffic was bad… etc etc.”
It is a classic driver’s ploy, it happens 90% of the time They agree to take you for a cheap price and then at the end the price doubles or triples and they haggle and weep and plead and get angry until you pay more and then smile, wobble the head and say thank you very much when you pay up. It’s the game!
I had thought to avoid all that by offering more at the start and, if Raj turned out to be good at his job, I would hire him for the week and give him a good bonus at the end. But no we still had to do the dance.
So I paid him the 1,500 and he was happy but (unknowingly) lost his big bonus.
Now the reason I have rambled on with this story is to show something that pervades India, not all of India and certainly not everyone but it is pervasive. In India nothing is set in stone. Agreements, prices, knowledge, locations even.
“Do you know how to get to Fort St George?” I asked Raj.
“Oh yes sir, no problem.”
But really Raj has no idea where or what Fort St George is… He stops at various points and asks people but we end up at a museum somewhere that has nothing to do with Fort St George. So I go and ask for directions to get to Fort St George from a museum attendant then call Raj over to get the directions in Tamil from the museum man.
It takes a while but eventually we do get to Fort St George, it just takes time and patience, lots of patience.
With the distributor whose email is not working it will be the same. I will get to him eventually and I will get the Sofosbuvir. It will take some time and some patience: but I will get there.
I received this email this morning and it made me realise how lucky I am that my Hep C stayed dormant until now when there are very effective drugs available (even though we have to fly to India to get them).
Stay safe out there Greg, really good reading your story. I have had hep C for 13 years diagnosed and 30 years before that. Did 4 courses of old treatment. Had a Transplant had to have loads of other ops because of the HepC 8-9 Hernias, really bad back op and now a week ago I’ve started Harvoni and Peg treatment, I come from the UK and you’re right: Why do they wait till you’re nearly dead till they treat you, seems bloody crazy! My new liver is screwed, very cirrhotic… asked my nurse what I scored from 1 to 10 (1 is good 10 is bad) she said at least a 7.
Have a good day mate contact me if you want to.
Had a long email from the very helpful S in Delhi. He passed on a phone number for the distributor for Cilia, another one of the Indian pharmaceutical companies who have a licence agreement with GILEAD. S explained again to me, in greater detail, how different the distribution of pharmaceuticals is in India. He explained that the Indian pharmacies rarely carry stock of the very expensive drugs such as Sofosbuvir and that it is common for the Companies to have a local distributor who one can buy direct from. This explains all my confusion and slightly paranoid fears.
Apart from that nothing significant to report. It was so bloody hot today I had to retreat to the air conditioned safety of the hotel or risk drowning in my own sweat!
Tomorrow is D Day. I will phone the Mylan distributor and the Cilia distributor and, hopefully, at the end of the day I will have my Sofosbuvir in my room.
18th May 5 a.m.
So my strategy today will be to phone the Cipla Distributor first and set up a meeting. I am thinking that he will know a doctor or doctors who are familiar with Hepatitis C and prescribing Sofosburvir. Now, because I already have my script I will focus on getting contact details and other information to post for people who want to come here themselves.
Assuming the Cipla guy gives me the names of one or two Doctors I will go and see at least one and speak to him (or her) about putting contact details up. What the cost would be for an appointment/consultation and writing the prescription.
Also I will need to know what kind of information people would be required to bring to meet the doctor’s diagnosis requirements; because we will not want to have to go through scans and pathology etc.here.
Then I will go through the same process with the Mylan guy. I want to have a list of at least a few doctor’s contact details by the end of the day, as well as costs.
And, of course, I want to have my tablets!
(And I hope, hope, hope today!)
Spoke to the Mylan and Cipla distributors this morning…. Ouch: communicating on the phone is very difficult. Of course it is not their fault. They can speak English but I can not speak Hindi. Still it is frustrating.
I want to meet them face to face but they do not understand my Australian accented English and I do not understand their Hindi/Tamil accented English… and the phone connections are not particularly clear. Sigh.
Okay D. Day is D Done.
Here is how it works.
There are several options.
Buy Gilead branded Sovaldi, this is the most expensive option but a lot of people will feel some comfort in using the branded product. Sovaldi is the brand that Gilead sell in the US and various other first world countries.
Sovaldi will cost 19,800rps per bottle of 28 tablets.
Branded Heplovir (Ribavirin) @ 230rps per bottle.
However I am informed that there may be issues in some countries about bringing in the branded Sovaldi. I get the impression that GILEAD are not too keen on people taking Sovaldi out of India, particularly into the first world countries.
To purchase Sovaldi in India you will need an Indian doctor to prescribe it for you. You should bring along all relevant recent reports related to your Hep C. With the photocopy of your prescription you will also need to supply a photocopy of your passport and one other form of ID.
To purchase a generic brand such as Myhep you do not need a prescription to buy it here however that may change. But anyway, in most cases, you will need a prescription to bring it into your country of origin. You need to find out your country’s laws but that is the case in Australia.
The cost of Myhep, which is exactly the same chemistry as Sovaldi, is 15,000rps per bottle of 28. In the case of Myhep they also throw in for free a generic Ribavirin.
So if you are doing a three month course the difference is a bit under 20,000rps (AUS$400).
Regarding doctors for the “bringing it home” prescription:
Any doctor in India can prescribe Sofobuvir generics so you don’t need to go down the path I followed by seeing a specialist and forking out quite a bit more money. Seeing a normal doctor for a single consult should not cost you more than $10, but I would still bring a few test results along. Let’s face it we’ve all seen all the specialists and done all the scans and tests and stuff. We just need the medication.
Bringing test results along might become more important as there are whispers about people coming over here and buying bulk Sofosbuvir generics and smuggling them home to sell for a profit. I guess so many people watched the Dallas Buyers’ Club it had to happen.
Anyway there is some chat about people having to prove that they actually have Hep C before they can get a prescription. It is not the case now but that could change, so bring some paperwork.
Anyway I do not have my medication yet! There were mix ups in telephone communications, my accent versus their accent and it ended up that I did not have a face to face until late this afternoon. But it is now all clear and the order is placed. I have been told to expect delivery either later this afternoon or in the morning tomorrow.
At this stage I am going to go with the Sovaldi purely because that is what is written on my prescription and I do not want any hassles at Customs. If there is any issues about me taking a three month supply of Sovaldi out of the country then I will switch to Myhep and get another prescription.
I will let you know how it unfolds.
p.s. It’s now 8.30 p.m. and I have not got the meds. Tomorrow then.
9 p.m. A Summary
Can’t sleep so I’m doing this final summary of costs.
Air fare to India$1,200
Hotel (6 nights @ $50 per night) $300
Food and transport etc$300
So the total cost will work out at pretty close to $3,000.
I chose a mid-range hotel in T. Nagar, fairly central to most of Chennai. This hotel offered everything I wanted. Comfortable room, comfortable bed, good air con, clean, friendly helpful staff, good wifi etc. at AUS$50 per night.
Chennai does not offer a lot of options in accommodation and accommodation is relatively expensive compared to most Indian cities. It’s not a major tourist destination and in the entire time I have been here I have not seen one other white person, which is a rare thing now days.
This time of year is very hot. The last two days have been over 40C and its pretty hard to do stuff after mid day. Of course this time of year is hot everywhere in India and I was not prepared to wait around for Autumn.
India has introduced a new Point of Entry on-line tourist visa system that is really good. You do the whole thing on-line and will have approval back in a few days. Make sure you print out the approval email to show at immigration. Medical Tourist is one of the options available on the Indian Visa form.
19th of May 9.30 a.m.
Sorry to say that I am still waiting. I have had breakfast and gone through my emails, read the newspaper and sent my driver off to do his normal customer picking up things because I do not think I will need him until after 11 this morning. Most businesses here do not start until about 10 a.m. I guess it gives folk time to enjoy the cooler part of the day. It will be above 40C again today.
So I do not expect to get delivery of my medication until around 11 this morning.
I’ve had a few emails from folk who are worried that by me publishing what I am doing in India that I may be attracting the attention of GILEAD who might not want concise information about how to go about getting the MUCH cheaper sofosbuvir in India made readily available.
And I admit to having had similar thoughts from the first day that I began to publish this diary. We all know how much big multi-nationals love their profits and we have all heard stories about the lengths to which they will go to either increase or preserve those profits. The 2005 film The Constant Gardener is based on a true story on exactly that theme. In The Constant Gardener Big Pharma actually murders people who threaten its profit base in Africa. Haha… I’m certainly not saying that would be on the cards for me but I do wonder about what strings might be pulled, either in India or Australia, to make things difficult for me.
Anyway, in response to the concerns of folk who have written to me about this issue, I just say that I am aware of that risk and proceed forward anyway. I hope that this diary, combined with the work of lots of other good people around the world, will add to the pressure on GILEAD to make its products more accessible, more affordable, to the people who suffer from this terrible and debilitating disease.
I do not have a problem with pharmaceutical companies making good profits, rewarding their investors and being rewarded for their research work, however the profit does not need to be an obscene profit and it does not have to be at the expense of tens of millions of people whose suffering could be relieved by fair prices. Please do make a profit… a good profit and continue the amazing research and development you are doing… but be fair, please be fair.
Remember Dr. Alexander Fleming, who invented penicillin, by far the most important drug every made. Flemming did NOT apply for a patent so that his momentous discovery would be freely available to everyone on Earth.
Perhaps the folk who run Big Pharma could learn from that? Nearly 100 years after its invention Companies still make a profit manufacturing penicillin but there is no monopoly on it so prices are fair.
Yep… still waiting !
Oh yes… still waiting. Two phone calls later.
Well I am starting to hear the tick tock of the clock on the wall much louder now! Time is running out. Less than 48 hours to get my prescription filled or I fly home with a problem.
Here is what has happened:
As I mentioned the Mylan guy told me to expect delivery before or by 11 a.m. this morning at the latest. After 11 a.m. I phoned him and asked what time I might expect the tablets to arrive. He told me by 12 noon. At about 12.20, after waiting two hours in the hotel lobby I was about to phone him from the reception desk when the phone rang and it was a different guy from Mylan saying he was on his way with the tablets. Fifteen minutes later he arrives with one bottle (28 tablets) of Sovaldi and the month’s course of Ribavirin!!!
I was slightly agitated when I realised what he had brought but one third of my prescribed dose, but I did my best to conceal my agitation… though my quavering voice, clenched fists and shaking hands might have given it away.
Still I had no interest in shooting the messenger. He was just the delivery guy and it would be stupid to get angry. This is India, things rarely run smoothly.
I explained to him that a one month supply was of no use to me. A head wobble and a smile and the gentleman explained to me that Gilead would not allow Mylan, or anyone else, sell more than one bottle to a particular person at one time because they do not want foreigners taking the Sovaldi back to their home country. So very sorry sir but there is nothing I can do about it.
Of course I had gone through all this with the other fellow yesterday afternoon and explained that If I could not get the three bottles of Sovaldi then I would take the Myhep instead,
How much is lost in translation? How much is lost in paperwork, procedures, poor lines of communication? I don’t know but it is frustrating in the extreme.
The gentleman who delivered the one month supply tells me that he has sent an SMS to the main man…. but has he???
I try to phone main man but his line is engaged (is it a call block or am I getting truly paranoid?). The delivery guy says he must be in a meeting and can not answer his phone; but I don’t know. So I send him an email. No reply. So I ring again. Engaged.
So it is now 3.15 and I live in hope that I can speak to this guy and arrange something before I fly out in two days time!
I knew this trip was never going to be easy but the dance steps are more complex than I had expected.
Anyway I paid for the one month supply of Sovaldi, thinking that I will just now get the two months of Myhep. This was on the assumption that I could actually speak to the Mylan guy and place the order.
I will post again this evening. Hopefully with good news.
Okay… spoke to the Mylan guy and went through everything again, as best one can on the telephone when both parties have strong accents. Telephones are very helpful in certain ways but when we are talking to each and we both have strong accents… over the telephone understandings can be difficult. So when it came down to critical points I asked the hotel manager to take the phone and make certain we were both talking about the same thing and everything was clear.
Me: I would not leave the hotel this evening. I will stay here until the Myhep was delivered.
He: The Myhep would definitely be delivered tonight, before 7 p.m.
So I wait.
I am tempted to write “mission accomplished” but the ghost of George Bush on the aircraft carrier suggests not to use that phrase.
Instead I will write GOT ‘EM !!!!!! My main man came through!
It was not quite six o’clock when the delivery guy appeared at the front desk of the hotel; I had just gone into the restaurant for a nice bowl of curry when the desk manager came and got me from my meal and told me there was someone to see me. A young fellow with the package I had flown so far to get. I had to run up to my room to get the cash. I ran fast up the stairs and faster down them. We counted out the 30,000 rupees and it was all done. I vigorously shook the delivery guy’s man, and thanked him profusely. I’m sure he thought I was quite insane.
Then up to my room to look at my three little jars of tablets that I had traveled so far to get.
It seemed totally absurd. Three little plastic jars, each with 28 little tablets in them. I had traveled half way around the world, spent nearly a week jumping through seemingly endless burning hoops, all for these three little jars. Ninety thousand dollars worth in Oz. It just seemed too absurd. These little jars held the difference between health and sickness, life and death, years of good life or years of suffering. It was like some kind of weird magic, some kind of genie in a bottle.
I feel both blessed and guilty; guilty because there are so many other people in the world who should have these little bottles, millions and million of people who are now suffering terribly because they can not get what these three little bottles contain. It is cruel, it is insane. How can any human withhold that which will ease another’s suffering?
I am overwhelmed by the enormity of this experience and can not write anymore. I will post again later. Bye.
20th May 4 a.m.
Woke up an hour ago with a terrible nightmare and could not get back to sleep. I guess I am starting to worry about the trip home.
I am getting a lot of emails from folk with Hep C sharing their stories with me and their terrible frustration at not being able to access the medication that might cure them.
Some people have gone through two or three Inferferon based treatments and still had the Hepatitis at the end of the treatment as well as suffering the debilitating side effects. Mothers who have Hep C and so desperately do not want to leave their children orphaned. So many sad stories… and all of these people saying “The medicine is out there but I can not afford to pay the $90,000 to get it.”
They are hoping that this trip of mine is successful and that the India option will be viable. I hope so too.
A few people are asking the question:
“How do you know you have not purchased fake tablets?”
The answer is that I do not know, and will not know until I get home and start taking them and get the results of the blood tests.
India has a good reputation for manufacturing pharmaceuticals and there are now at least five manufacturers licensed by GILEAD and I seem to be buying from them and I did get a prescription from a highly reputable doctor and I am buying from the company that he recommended.
The tricky thing with India is that things are done very differently here. It is not simply a case of taking your script down to the local pharmacy, handing it over the counter, waiting ten minutes and walking out.
It’s a different system, not a worse system or less reliable system, just different, and, like learning a new language, at first it is difficult but once understood and mastered its not a problem.
Well I think that nightmare is out of my system now, so I will have an other crack at some sleep before the sun comes up.
Went back to sleep and dreamed that my cat had died…. What is that about?
Anyway the day has gone pretty smoothly. All the pressure is off and I’m backing my bags and getting ready to leave, relieved.
Just did odd jobs today, went to Madras University and donated one of my books to their library and also the History Department, also gave one to each of Chennai’s two big public libraries.
For those reading this who do not know me I recently converted my Master’s thesis into an ‘easy reading’ history book. A lot of the research was focused on Madras 1790 to 1820, which is the main reason I chose to come to Chennai rather than any of the other major cities of India.
Knowing what I know now I would probably suggest Delhi as the place to go for generic Sofosbuvir.
So, hopefully I will have nothing to report until tomorrow. I am still a bit anxious about getting out of India but I think that it just paranoia.
21st May 2015
It has been a very weird 24 hours and I am relieved to be at the new (and already starting to rust) Chennai International Airport waiting to board Malaysian Airlines flight 183 for home.
The story begins yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, when I attempted to log on to my diary to make an entry. I discovered that I could not access my website. Indeed I could not access any of the several websites that I manage; the passwords had been changed!
Now I should clarify that I have been building and maintaining websites for nearly fifteen years. So it’s not like this blog is the first time I have logged onto a website; and in that fifteen years I have never been locked out of my websites by a password change. Yep I had been hacked.
It took me about four hours of working with my web hosting service to get things right. On my end I had to totally uninstall and remove all software associated with my websites then re-install it all. On their end they enabled me to reset my passwords and usernames. Eventually I regained access to this diary and my other websites.
As I have mentioned a few times I have been receiving and answering a lot of emails from folk with questions about this process I am going through. I guess one of those emails had some sort of Trojan (or whatever they are called).
Anyway it’s all fine now and I will scan all my emails before opening them in future.
At KL Airport
So, as I said, I am now heading home. I think that my visit to India has been a success and when I get home I will go and see my GP and, under his supervision, or some other doctor’s supervision, I will start taking the Myhep (generic Sofosbuvir, manufactured by Mylan under licence from GILEAD).
I did consider starting to take it here in India, as I did have the prescription and dosage from the specialist but a couple of people said that there were possibilities of a reaction to either the Sofosbuvir or the Ribavirin and that it would be wiser to start at home rather than have something bad happen at 10,000 meters above Indonesia.
Buying Prescription Medications in India.
At the end of my last day here (yesterday) I decided I was still not really clear enough about how the sales and distribution process works in India so I got my driver to take me to the warehouse of the wholesaler who had delivered the Sovaldi to me the previous day (remember I got one bottle of Sovaldi and two of Myhep). I had a receipt for the cash payment I had made and their address was on it… and it was not too far from my hotel.
So I asked my auto driver if he knew the address and of course he wobbled his head, smiled and said “Oh yes sir, I know it.” But of course he didn’t.
Anyway, eventually, after driving around in circles for a while, we found the address and I walked up the stairs to the warehouse.
I was not sure what type of response I would get just walking in like that but the manager came out and, fortunately, was very polite (as most Indians are) and, bonus, he spoke English very well.
I explained to him that I was trying to understand how sales and distribution worked in India for pharmaceuticals and that talking on the phone was not easy for me. He smiled and then gave a very clear explanation. Drawing a distinction between common ‘off the shelf’ medications and the expensive stuff like Sofosbuvir. He explained that the normal pharmacies could not afford to hold stocks of these expensive medicines so:
1. The customer contacts the distributor and supplies documentation like copy of passport, prescription etc. then places his order.
2. The distributor then contacts head office (where ever that might be, in this case it was in a city more than a thousand kilometres away) and sends them copies of the documents.
3. The head office issues a deliver note to the wholesale warehouse.
4. The warehouse contacts the distributor who then contacts the customer to arrange a delivery time.
5. A person from the warehouse arrives at the customer’s location with the goods and an invoice/receipt.
6. On receiving and checking the goods the customer pays, in cash, the delivery man for the goods and is given a stamped receipt.
Back Home !!! No drama at any point. Start taking meds tomorrow.
Buying generic Sofosbuvir in India: some thoughts.
In a couple of the Hep C forums some people push the idea of scams and fake Sofosbuvir pretty hard and seem intent on scaring people away from the idea of going to India to get their medication.
I am not sure why that is, particuarly when one considers the alternatives.
The reality is that there are seven, reputable, long established companies licensed by GILEAD to make Sofosbuvir in India. These are not little backyard chemistry labs, these are huge, well established pharmaceutical companies who have been manufacturing medical drugs for many years and supply local and international markets.
To buy Sofosbuvir that is EXACTLY the same Sofosbuvir as is sold by GILEAD in the USA and Europe all you have to do is contact one of these seven companies’ distributors and organise to buy it. There is such a small chance of these people selling you fake Sofosbuvir that it is not even worth mentioning. But if you want to feel safe you can either buy the Sovaldi, manufactured by Mylan, or the Myhep manfactured by Mylan, the same product except the tablet is a different colour.
The difficulty is navigating the different way things are done in India. Just because something is different does not make it wrong. And just because you are in India it does not mean that everyone is going to rip you off. There are no more criminals per head of population in India than in the USA or the UK, probably less.
I hope that I have given enough information in this little story to explain how to go to India and purchase, legal, licensed Sofosbuvir.
The cost of buying a full three month course of Sofosbuvir and Ribavirin is less than AUS$1,000 plus, as I have already said, the whole trip cost cost me less than AUS$2,000.
Right now I am very, very glad I spent that three grand and that I can start killing this damn virus tomorrow and I am glad that I live in a country where it is possible to raise the three grand without selling my house.
I am very, very glad I am not on a waiting list at some hospital and going in for tests every three months to see if I am sick enough to get treatment.
I am very very glad that I did not choose to do the Infereron based treatment when it was offered to me last year.
I am very glad that I was lucky enough to find out that I had Hep C at the same time this new family of drugs became available.
I am very glad that the Indian government did not grant GILEAD a patent.
And I am very glad that our government allows us to bring prescribed drugs into Australia from other countries.
I guess my next story line will be about how the treatment goes.