Sunday, September 09, 2007

HIV cure Quack?

Call me a cynic but when I saw this press release stating that the CEO of a pharmaceutical company was donating an HIV drug to the public I smelled something fishy. It's not that I don't think that deep down a person would not give up fame and fortune for the benefit of the rest of humanity, I would like to believe that most of us could do that, it's just that public companies are legally required to act in their shareholders best interest. In fact a CEO could go to prison for doing something like that. But more importantly no one would develop and test and produce a drug if there wasn't a profit to be made. I have yet to see a government doing the research and doing the clinical trials and producing a drug to give out for free to its own citizen, let alone a company.
Even if the company couldn't afford to continue research on a compound they would probably try to sell it to someone. yet this is their mission:

" Because we believe human life to be more valuable than a profit margin, our goal is to aid in curing the world of HIV with our new medication that will be developed and distributed at generic prices from their inception."

Sounds to good to be true. So I went to check out the data, it's not published in any peer-reviewed journal but the initial screen that they paid the nih to do seems promising, albeit very preliminary. The compound seems to help block virus entry into the cell.

Yet here is what Dr. Hershline had to say about his drug: "I think we have to talk in terms of a cure for HIV. I want to cure HIV and that is why my foundation is called"
"This gift is intended to extend technology that no one else posses on this planet."

I noticed that Dr. Hershline is taking donations to help support his foundation. What are they doing with the money? Well the associated blog was a first hint:

"The CureHIV blog is intended to be an open forum for helping those being irresponsible by their use of addictive drugs and alcohol, to those wanting to help CureHIV spread the good news of the potential cure for HIV, to those who just want a better world.


Oh I see it's drugs and alcohol that is to blame and abstinence that is the cure. That doesn't sound like a drug developer, more like right-wing propaganda. Lets imagine a completely unrelated situation, If you wanted to raise funds for a cause wouldn't it look good if you made it appear as though you gave away a potential cure, even if that drug is completely worthless. I mean theoretically, wouldn't that be a good strategy?

I mean you could build stuff like a holistic creative recovery center:
"The mission of HCRC is to bring healthy natural food and activity, self-introspection and self-expression and the knowledge that the highest euphoria is experienced through a drug free mind-body experience. "

"My deepest concern is the spread of HIV through sexual intercourse in the young adults of America while under the influence of cocaine and alcohol . Dr. Hershline"

I mean I don't doubt this guy has his heart in the right place, and I don't know if he personally profits from this, but it just sounds fishy... Yet I hope to hear about this compound again, maybe in a peer-reviewed journal sometime soon. Until then call me a skeptic.


Bayman said...

So I guess he found a drug that block the effects of cocaine an alcohol.

What a load of BS. Maybe he should go talk about the dangers of cocaine to some HIV+ kids in South Africa. Free of charge!!!

Jay Cam said...

hm...sounds legit..i hope!

HIV Reservoirs and Eradication said...

Because HIV damages your immune system, you are more likely to get sick from bacteria and viruses. It is also harder for your body to fight off these infections when you do get them, so you may have trouble getting better. HIV is the condition that leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).