On Monday’s Fox and Friends, we shared with you the story about a seven-year-old Virginia boy who is being denied a drug needed to treat a curable virus. This morning, Peter Johnson Jr. had a heartbreaking update to the story.
Josh Hardy has overcome kidney cancer, heart failure and underwent a bone marrow transplant. Doctors say the adenovirus can be cured with a drug named Brincidofovir, which is in the trial stage and has not been approved by the FDA. The drug manufacturer, Chimerix, has refused urgent pleas to give Josh the drug on “compassionate use” grounds.
Now, a pediatric cancer charity is offering to pay for Josh’s treatment, but Chimerix will not allow it.
Johnson spoke to Richard Plotkin, vice chair of The Max Cure Foundation. He called Chimerix CEO Kenneth Moch on the phone after hearing about Josh’s story.
“I told him that we had the $50,000 dollars that I thought he was claiming he needed to supply the drug,” Plotkin said. “He then told me it isn’t about money. He told me that it’s all about ethics.”
Plotkin said Moch would not make an exception for the dying boy because there will be a long line of other people that will want it. When Plotkin asked what he would do if this was his child, Moch supposedly hung up the phone.
Johnson asked, “What have we come to in this country when a drug company that has received $72 or $73 million dollars from the federal government will not give up the drug that they know can help a little boy. Are they afraid of damaging their bottom line if the drug doesn’t work?”
Plotkin made a plea to the board of directors at Chimerix, taking a page from the movie, “A Time to Kill.”
He said, “I ask the board to close your eyes and as you close your eyes, assume there’s a little boy lying in a hospital bed who says to his father, 'Daddy, am I going to die? And if I’m going to die, who will take care of me in heaven?’”
Plotkin continued, “And then I want you to assume that this little boy is your child and your grandchild. And members of the board of directors, I have no doubt how you would respond to that.”