Drug maker relents; will provide life-saving treatment for 7-year-old

After a media firestorm, a drug company that refused lifesaving medication for a 7-year-old cancer survivor, had a change of heart.

Chimerix will start a pilot trial Wednesday for the antiviral drug brincidofovir, with patient Josh Hardy as the program’s first participant, according to Fox News.

The Max Cure Foundation, a charity dedicated to researching rare pediatric cancers, offered to pay for the drug, but Chimerix was hesitant.

Richard Plotkin, vice chairman of the Max Cure Foundation, told “Fox and Friends” on Tuesday that he had spoken with Chimerex’s CEO, Kenneth Moch.

“I told him that we had the $50,000 that I thought he was claiming he needed to supply the drug. He then told me it isn’t about money,” Plotkin said. “He told me it’s all about ethics. I said, ‘Fine, tell me why you will not give [it to] this little boy.’ If he does not get the drug, he will die this week, I’m told.  He said he cannot make an exception.”

Moch hung up the phone during the conversation, Plotkin said. The company then issued a statement saying it would provide the drug after all.

“This 20-patient open-label study underscores Chimerix’s mission to develop innovative antiviral therapies in areas of high unmet need — for everyone,” Moch said. “Being unable to fulfill requests for compassionate use is excruciating, and not a decision any one of us ever wants to have to make. It is essential that each individual in a health crisis be treated with equal gravity and value, a principle we have upheld by pursuing further clinical study of brincidofovir that will inform its use in adenovirus and other serious DNA viral infections.”

After several battles with cancer, Josh had developed a potentially deadly virus, Fox News reported, adding:

Over the course of his childhood, Josh has survived four bouts of kidney cancer and even suffered from heart failure.  Then, in November 2013, he developed a bone marrow disorder as a result of his cancer treatments and underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Though his treatments were a success, Josh subsequently developed adenovirus – an acute infection that can be deadly in people with compromised immune systems.

Josh’s mother, Aimee Hardy, launched a grassroots campaign aimed at Chimerix, and soon after the hashtag #savejosh was trending on Twitter and spreading through social media.

Watch Tuesday’s report via Fox and Friends:

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