Leading global nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is asking everyone over the age of 13 to sign a petition posed to the Obama White House last week by the HCV Coalition for the Cure that encourages the Administration to take a role in encouraging two drug companies — New Jersey-based Bristol-Myers Squibb and California-based Gilead Sciences. Inc. — to cooperate on the safe, effective cure for Hepatitis C that is made with a combination of drugs owned by the two companies. However, Gilead refuses to cooperate on providing its share of this much-needed cure for a disease that has officially become more deadly than AIDS — instead of sharing the income from the jointly-released cure, Gilead continues to restrict the option for Hep C sufferers to the present treatment with its low success rate and harsh physical side effects.
The HCV Coalition for the Cure submitted the petition to the White House on February 19 under the guidance of HCV patient and advocate Margaret Dudley. The call to action — which asks President Obama to step in and encourage cooperation between the drug companies for the sake of all HCV sufferers — requires 100,000 signatures in 30 days to garner the attention of the President or another White House staffer. As of the afternoon of February 25, the nearly-week-old petition had gained just over 3,000 signatures.
“While Gilead holds out their cooperation in an effort to squeeze every last nickel from this lifesaving drug combination, millions of people around the world are dying from complications related to Hepatitis C, or, at best, they’re putting up with painful and harmful physical side effects from the presently available treatment,” said Timothy Boyd, AHF Director of Domestic Policy. “No one should have to die from a condition when a cure exists – we all must stand together and demand President Obama’s help in ending this costly stalemate and preventing these avoidable deaths.”
Currently, more than 170 million people worldwide are living with Hepatitis C, and more than 4 million of them are in America. The disease has surpassed AIDS in the number of people it kills annually, and has become the leading reason for liver transplants in those suffering from it. Few people know a cure for the condition has been found and could be available to patients if not for the stubborn refusal of Gilead to cooperate with BMS, a refusal motivated solely by the same corporate greed that led Gilead to raise the prices of four of its HIV medications at the beginning of this year.
BMS first revealed in November 2012 the 100% cure for Hep C found when the BMS drug Daclatasvir was combined with Gilead’s sofosbuvir — the all-oral medicinal combination was found to fully cure the condition in just 12 weeks with minimal side effects, and proved effective for Hep C type 1 with similar projected outcomes for types 2 and 3. Currently, Hep C is linked to about 12,000 U.S. deaths per year, and the presently-used chemo-style combination of two drugs cures only about 40 percent of Hep C patients, and is coupled with disabling side effects like amnesia, severe anemia, body aches, and nausea. A senior vice president at BMS, Dr. Douglas J. Manion, has said his company would be “keen” to participating with Gilead on the cure, but “thus far, they have been unwilling to engage in that cooperation.”
Join AHF and the HCV Coalition for the Cure in demanding the release of this lifesaving Hep C cure – SIGN THE PETITION today! To learn more about the cure and to watch a video from the announcement of the petition, visit the HCV Coalition website at www.hepc-cured.com.