Help for Hep C meds–PLEASE SIGN!

We desperately need help in getting signatures to get sofosbuvir and daclatasvir in clinical trials. Please use the short URL (click below or cut-and-paste into your browser):

http://1.usa.gov/WV393T    

Part of the reason/problem is that, as I understand it, these White House petitions need to now have 100,000 signatures (formerly 25,000) in order to get attention. I don’t know how we’re going to manage this but we have to try.

So I am asking you please to sign–and spread the word to family, friends, through networks and lists. Lives depend on it–and over 300,000 people die each year from Hep C for lack of treatment.

Here’s the story. The current treatment for Hep C is PEG-IFN plus ribavirin for 48 weeks. With genotype 1, one has a 40% chance of a sustained viral response (SVR) (no virus 12-24 weeks after finishing therapy). The treatment is costly and HORRIBLY toxic in addition to being not very effective and requiring weekly or twice weekly injections. (And Hep C is global: many people live in countries that hardly have enough syringes for other medical needs.)

Numerous all oral drugs are being investigated. The single most promising combination is Gilead’s drug, PSI-7977 (now GS-7977 or sofosbuvir) and the Bristol Myers Squibb drug, daclatasvir. Two pills. Period. The one study of about 400 people showed that the two drugs together CURED 100% of people (SVR12) with genotype 1 with few or no side effects in HALF the time (24 weeks of drug therapy). 12 weeks of therapy may work as well.

GILEAD said NO to further studies of this combo, a move purely driven by greed and corporate envy (Gilead has provided no reasons, medical or otherwise). They have a drug in the same class as daclatasvir and they want to (need to) corner the market. Their version tho, does NOT work as well and seems to require the anemia-inducing horror of ribavirin to work, with only at best an 80% SVR.

GILEAD ALSO pulled a boneheaded move. John C. Martin, CEO, actually BOUGHT sofosbuvir from Pharmasset–for $11 BILLION. THIS IS INSANE – it costs, pharma claims, $1 billion to bring a drug to market to begin with (though others have suggested it is probably much less than that). Pharmasset had only four drugs in its portfolio, one of which had already failed. Essentially, the only drug Gilead is developing is sofosbuvir. And they will want to get a VICIOUS return on that “investment” (that screwed their market capitalization–if I had Gilead stock, I’d sell.)

So they will probably jam their shittier drug in with this drug they bought in a “fixed dose combination” precluding use with daclatasvir and charge a small fortune. The rich get cured and those of us without insurance die.

Meanwhile, even if they DO make it available as a separate drug, we will NOT have information on how it works with different populations. People with HIV co-infection for example or on how it interacts with ARV or those who have relapsed.

GILEAD is a horrible company and to compound things, they spread cash around to a lot of AIDS and Hep C organizations and “community leaders” who then remain silent. And as I recall, SILENCE=DEATH.

Hundreds of THOUSANDS of deaths from hep C every year. More than AIDS these days–and killing my friends with HIV faster too.

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