Here are some comments by Prof Ed Gane broadcast on National Radio today. After publicly congratulating Dr Freeman for the way he set up Fix Hep C/Buyers Club, including consulting experts, he said the following:
``There’s a lot of concern about drugs that are coming out of Bangladesh at the moment and out of China because these are not produced under any licensing agreement, they are pure generic drugs and therefore there is no guarantee that these drugs will be authentic.
They could be fake, they could be diluted so not as effective, they could be contaminated or they could be the right chemical, and I guess this is an issue with one of the drugs being used to treat Hep C at the moment. The common combination to treat Hep C is what we call a nuke (Sof) in combination with another drug (NS5A inhibitor).
Now the nukes are very easy to make and are very robust, then if we test the nuke and its there then it is very likely to be active.
The NS5A, certainly some of them, are very difficult to make, so you might have the right chemical, and it might test as the right chemical, but to actually make that chemical into an active, crystalline form, which will be active against the virus in the body, you do need to have very sophisticated factories to make those, that certainly pertains to one of the NS5A’s, Ledipasvir.
The proof of the pudding is in what James is doing, he is following up patients he is treating. I think we need to see not only what happens in treatment, because if you are on 2 drugs, only 1 of which is authentic, the patients will still become clear of the virus during treatment, but the problem is once the treatment has finished, because the second drug wasn’t authentic, then those patients will relapse, which means that the virus although you can’t find it in the blood at the end of treatment, it bounces back and becomes positive after treatment has finished. So I think following up the patients who have been treated, it’s early days yet….
Most of the patients who have been treated with the combination of the NS5A and the nuke, through the FixHepC Buyers Club are not that far out after treatment, so James is getting those results. I think that is going to be very helpful to tell us whether the combination was authentic or not.
(Prof Gane speaks near the end of the sound file at www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ni...tis-c-buyers%27-club