Friday, October 2, 2015

Searching for Sovaldi: Buying Generic Sofosbuvir in India: A Travel Journal

Searching for Sovaldi: Buying Generic Sofosbuvir in India: A Travel Journal

Did you all read the story today published online in The Sydney Morning Herald about the hepatitis C buyers club. The article is about FixHepC, a Non-Profit website launched by Australian GP Dr James Freeman. The site offers Australian HCV patients information about purchasing hepatitis C medications from overseas through GP2U Telehealth, Freeman is from GP2U and founded Skype2doctor, a virtual medical center based at Battery Point in Hobart, Tasmania. Here is the story; FixHepC, the buyers club for hepatitis C drug, inundated with inquiries.

According to the article; "Visits to the FixHepC website shot up from 5000 to more than 217,000 after a report on the initiative was published by Fairfax Media last weekend." 

The first time I read about the Australian site was on a favorite blog of mine written by Greg Jefferys, over at In addition to reading his blog - I never miss an entry, I downloaded his remarkable journal; Searching for Sovaldi: Buying Generic Sofosbuvir in India: A Travel Journal, available at Amazon. If you haven't read his inspirational story yet, you will after reading this overview.

This is the amazing story of one man’s journey to cure himself of Hepatitis C, a debilitating and often fatal disease. It is a journey that begins with his own quest for a cure and ends with him assisting hundreds of others to access the same cure. Originally written as a guide to buying generic antiviral drugs in India it is an entertaining, frightening and uplifting journey that takes the reader into the murky world of the international pharmaceutical industry where profits are more important than people’s lives. The author’s journey ultimately brought hope to thousands of people suffering from the global epidemic of Hepatitis C and helped in the global effort to put pressure on governments and pharmaceutical companies to make new generation medicines available to their citizens at affordable prices. 

Diagnosed with Hep C after suddenly experiencing extreme, unexplained fatigue the author was faced with the prospect that he either had liver cancer or extreme cirrhosis of the liver. He was offered a treatment that included a cocktail of drugs based on Interferon. However after researching the Interferon therapy he found that it offered a cure rate of not much better than 50% and side effects that were so bad that up to half the people who started the treatment quit, preferring to risk liver cancer than endure the horrendous side effects of Interferon.
The author instead decided to manage his disease through life style and dietary changes while waiting for the arrival of a new generation of anti-viral drugs that were rumoured to be on the horizon.
However when the new drugs did eventually become available, Gilead’s Sofosbuvir, offering a 99% cure rate and almost no side effects, the price asked for them was an extraordinary US$1,000 per tablet. The average treatment would require between 84 and 168 tablets, or between US$84,000 and US$168,000 per treatment. 

All around the world the more than 150 million people suffering from Hepatitis C saw their cure and at the same time saw that for most of them the cure was unaffordable. 

Then, courageously, India refused to grant a patent on the new drugs and Indian manufacturers began to produce generic varieties for sale at one hundredth of the price that the drug was being sold in Western countries. 

The author was the first person from the West to publicly go to India to source and buy generic Sofosbuvir for his own treatment. He kept a diary of his experiences and published it on the internet so that others could follow his path into India and know how to access this cheaper version of the life saving drug. 

This story is an extension of the author’s diaries and journals, originally intended as a guide to purchasing generic Sofosbuvir in India, this expanded content takes the reader into the heart of India where ancient values and customs create a fierce independence from American and European social, economic and corporate pressures. Witty and exciting the story also contains tragic stories gleaned from the hundreds of emails the author has received from people who have Hepatitis C themselves or who are supporting family members with the disease.
It is an inspiring read. 

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