All posts tagged Ampligen

Making the Case for Ampligen in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

Ampligen has been in the FDA pipeline for so many years that it almost seems like a mirage at this point. The ME/CFS community has been praying, hoping, believing that Ampligen will be its first FDA approved drug for over twenty years. For a lot of people that hope may have died, but the drug has gotten new life recently.

A Little History

If Ampligen has failed to gain approval at least it and the company have been entertaining. Ironically, given its long and rather harrowing path through the FDA, Ampligen’s first use in an ME/CFS patient was prompted by none other than the FDA. After an ME/CFS patient with culture evidence of HHV-6 infection significantly improved clinical trials began.

Ampligen has trod a difficult path at the FDA over the past twenty years.

Ampligen has trod a difficult path at the FDA over the past twenty years.

Problems occurred early on, however, when Hemispherx Biopharma, the drug’s maker, cut the trial duration in half, and ME/CFS patients sued at one point to get access to the drug. The early Ampligen trials in chronic fatigue syndrome ultimately sparked the publication of a hilarious novel by Floyd Skloot, Patient 002.

The company came under fire early. In the early 1990’s CAA President Kim Kenney (McCleary) said “Ampligen is a good drug in the wrong hands”.  Daniel Hoth, then head of the National Institutes of Health’s AIDS drug program, went further when he told the Wall Street journal that “no professional drug company with any degree of professionalism would ever develop Ampligen the way it was developed by HEM.”

Difficult Path

Hemispherx Biopharma, though, has never had an easy time of it. In what surely must be a record for frustration for a drug company, Ampligen was moved to a different section of the FDA four times; each move eliciting a new review and different findings.

The FDA panel’s rejection of Ampligen in 2013 provided more head-shaking moments when two ME/CFS experts  unexpectedly voted against it, and several non- ME/CFS experts (citing the community’s urgent needs) voted to approve it.

Hemispherx felt blindsided at the hearing by safety issues it been told had been addressed years ago, and which it didn’t feel it was given adequate time to respond to.  (Since then FDA officials have said safety is not a major issue). It’s no wonder the company has felt at times that the deck has been stacked against them.

With the FDA asking for large drug trials that HB lacked the funds to produce, Ampligen finally seemed to be dead, but a new push to understand ME/CFS at the NIH may be producing a sea change for the drug.

Patients Push FDA To Approve Drug

More than anyone, ME/CFS patients know of the cost of having no FDA approved drugs.  Patient outcry at the FDA denial of Ampligen in 2013 – including an 11-day hunger strike by patient Robert Miller, 5,000 signatures petitioning the FDA to reconsider, and thousands of emails from patients and Congresspeople flooding the FDA – prompted the FDA to conduct a Drug Development Workshop in 2014 and publish guidance for the industry on ME/CFS drug development.

The FDA’s effort to spur drug company interest in ME/CFS appears to have failed, however, leaving Ampligen still the only drug candidate within short-term reach of drug approval for a disease that the FDA acknowledges urgently needs approved treatments.

With NIH director Francis Collin’s commitment to reinvigorate  chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) research and mentioning the possibility of an NIH funded Ampligen trial, it’s time to take another look at the “first” drug for ME/CFS.

Renewal

Equels-Thomas

Thomas Equels has vowed to make the company attractive to investors

The Board of Hemispherx Biopharma (HB) responded to the new climate of interest by replacing its longtime President and CEO, William Carter, with its Chief Financial Officer, Thomas Equels. Equels vowed to whip company into better financial shape in order to attract investors who could help get Ampligen FDA approval. FDA approval of Ampligen, he declared was HB’s number one priority, and he would work arm in arm with the FDA to achieve that.

Ampligen

Ampligen is an immunomodulator that targets a portion of the immune system that fights viruses.  Ampligen’s producer, Hemispherx Biopharma, was surely cheered by  the assignment of a major NIH study  to a neuroinfectious disease specialist, Dr. Avindra Nath.

Ampligen’s use in ME/CFS is predicated on the idea that viruses and/or immune issues are playing havoc in the disease. Ampligen is a toll -like receptor three (TLR-3) inducer. The receptor it binds to are found on antigen presenting cells such as dendritic cells that have been exposed to pathogens.

The binding of the receptor activates hundreds of genes in a cell. The side effects from most TLR inducing drugs limits their effectiveness, but Ampligen is unique among these drugs in that it does not cause cells to produce large amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Efficacy

Reports of Ampligen’s ability to dramatically improve the health of some people with ME/CFS abound.

The 90,000 doses given safely through Hemispherx Biopharma’s compassionate care program to ME/CFS patients by a handful of doctors in the U.S. have produced some startling stories of improvement and recovery.

success

Ampligen’s success stories attest to the drugs effectiveness in some people

Anita Patton, Mary Schweitzer, Bob Miller and Kelvin Lord have all documented their Ampligen success stories. Several experienced significant improvement while on it only to relapse while off it.  Anita Patton essentially went from bed bound to normal functioning on Ampligen, back to being bed bound off of it, and then again to normal functioning when back on the drug.

Kelvin Lord’s story was perhaps most representative. He’s provided the most complete (and funniest) review of an ME/CFS patient’s experience with Ampligen in a series of blogs titled “The Ampligen Chronicles”.  Faced with rapidly deteriorating health, Ampligen was Kelvin Lord’s last shot at health. To his surprise and delight it worked.

It didn’t return this businessman, flight instructor, skier and parasailor to complete health, but Kelvin did progress from being barely able to walk to be able to work 6 hours and do 45 minutes of resistance exercises a day. His brain fog, orthostatic intolerance, canker sores and extreme fatigue disappeared. He was back to being a productive human being for a major part of his day – a huge jump. (Read about it here.)  Going from bed bound to productive is probably a bigger jump, it should be noted, than most FDA approved drugs provide.

(Find other stories in Health Rising’s Ampligen Resource Page.)

Of course, examples of Ampligen’s lack of efficacy can be found as well, but this is to be expected given the  heterogeneous nature of ME/CFS.  Until the subsets in ME/CFS can be targeted with treatments unique to them, treatment efficacy even for most effective treatments, is probably going to be fairly low – perhaps around the 30-40% mark found in Ampligen.

Studies

“The drug has not received a marketing approval despite the lack of proven efficacious agents in the treatment of this disease that can be severely debilitating and is estimated to effect over one million persons in the US.” The author

W.M. Mitchell, a Vanderbilt pathologist and HB Board member, recently published an overview of Ampligen in a pharmaceutical journal. (Mitchell recently co-authored a study which reported finding a significantly more accurate blood test for prostate cancer.)

Efficacy of rintatolimod in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome/ myalgic encephalomyelitis (cfs/me). Mitchell WM. Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2016 Apr 5.

Thirteen Ampligen trails have been done over the past 20 years or so.  Nine occurred in severely ill prior fatigue syndrome patients; three of these were large multisite trials and five were open label trials measuring safety and efficacy.  All told over 830 different ME/CFS patients have received over 90,000 doses of Ampligen. Most of the patients in the studies had been ill for at least 6-9 years.

The results of the trials have been positive. The first 92 person trial found significant increases in Karnofsky performance scores (p<.001), quality of life, exercise tolerance and oxygen utilization during exercise. Ampligen receiving patients also used significantly less drugs to alleviate their symptoms than placebo receiving patients.

The number of patients seeking emergency room care demonstrated how severely ill the patients in the study were, and how helpful Ampligen might be if it were available.  Ampligen cut the number of patients visiting the emergency room in half (from 15% to <8%). The placebo patients stayed an average of eight days at the hospital, while the Ampligen receiving patients stayed an average of less than three days.

(In how many diseases would 15% of the patients in the clinical trial spend an average of 8 days at a hospital over the duration of the trial? This was a very severely ill cohort.)

exercise

Ampligen reduced exercise intolerance and increased oxygen utilization

The primary endpoint of next  234 person trial was exercise intolerance. The results, which barely reached the minimum standard of significance (p< .05/ p<.048), indicated that exercise tolerance increased on average about 22%. Overall Ampligen improved VO2 max results on the exercise test by 5.5%, and Ampligen receiving patients were able to stay on the treadmill for about nine minutes longer than placebo receiving patients.

Further analyses found 3 cohorts of patients with regards to exercise tolerance; high responders, mild responders and no responders. Overall patients on the drug improved significantly more than patients given placebo (p<.001).

As in the first study, hospital visits were significantly reduced in the Ampligen receiving cohort and Karnofsky performance scores were significantly increased.

The two clinical studies suggest that 30-40% of people with severe ME/CFS can be expected to get “clinical benefit” from Ampligen.

The trials were mostly successful, but did have their problems.  The company stopped the first trial early and then modified the second trial in midstream. Even though the second trial was successful a great deal of discussion at the FDA hearing involved why the trial was modified.  Records could have better kept as well.

From the ME/CFS communities perspective, though, the success of both trials  was paramount. Many felt the lapses should have overlooked given the urgent need for treatments in such a large and often disabling disease.  Many also felt that the positive testimony by doctors who had been using the drug for years should have been given more weight.

Conclusion

While there were some problems with the trials the drug did meet several important endpoints including increasing time on a treadmill and increased oxygen utilization. It should be noted that Ampligen has tried to move the needle on probably the most difficult factor of all to budge in ME/CFS: oxygen utilization during exercise.

Any drug providing clinical benefit to 30-40% of a population which has no approved drugs should be a slam dunk. (Less effective drugs have been readily approved in other illnesses). Hopefully, with new leadership, Hemispherx’s twenty plus year journey to bring Ampligen to market will end successfully, and the ME/CFS community will finally get its first drug approved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Hemispherx Prez Says Getting Ampligen Approval Top Priority

It seems like Hemispherx Biopharma – the maker of Ampligen – has been the under the gun for years.  Last year it settled a 2012 class action lawsuit alleging it made false and misleading claims about Ampligen. It endured another lawsuit in 2009 for more alleged federal securities violations. Last year it was called “a penny-stock firm with a penchant for hype” by Damien Garde at Fierce Biotech.

decline

Hemispherx Biopharma’s financial resources have declined recently

According to Investor Wired Hemipsherx’s net loss including non-cash effects, averaged about $12 million or $(0.05) a share in the first nine months of the last two years.With regards to cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities the company lost about $4 million in the first nine months of 2015  ($16,108,000 – $12,375,000).

The news has not been all bad, though. Hemispherx Biopharma was rated the ninth best performing health care stock of 2012. Citing Hemispherx’s ability to achieve additional patent protection for Ampligen in Europe through 2029, Investor Wired put Hemispherx Biopharma on its “Biotech Stocks to Watch List” at the end of last year. It’s all more of the roller-coaster for Ampligen and Hemispherx Biopharma.

The fact that Ampligen is even still around may be something of a small miracle.  It’s hard to envision a more difficult drug pathway than for a small drug company producing a drug for a controversial disease like ME/CFS.

It’s a telling sign of drug company wariness towards ME/CFS that decades after Ampligen was introduced, it’s still the only drug to go through the FDA approval process for the disease, and no other drugs are in sight. Until FDA approves the first medicine for ME/CFS, no significant investment in this disease will likely come from the pharma industry. Ampligen represents an important logjam in ME/CFS treatment that has to be solved.

For all the difficulty surrounding Hemispherx, it should be noted that the company managed to keep Ampligen alive long enough to hopefully take advantage of the changed landscape for ME/CFS.

Change at the Top

A new era for chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)  appears to be dawning at the NIH. With Francis Collins, the head of the NIH, taking the lead in the fight to understand and treat ME/CFS, a window of opportunity has opened for Ampligen.

Equels-Thomas

Equels declared that Ampligen is Hemispherx’s number one priority

Hemispherx Biopharma’s first move to capitalize on that opportunity was to fire its long time CEO and Chairman, William Carter (and two of his relatives) and elevate Thomas Equels, former Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice Chairman to the Presidency.

Stating that it was re-examining its fundamental priorities, Hemispherx Biopharma’s (HB’s) board pledged it would implement a “strong financial austerity plan”.  (In 2014, Carter made $2,364,874 including about $2,000,000 in cash and a $894,000 bonus.)  Equels was given a mandate to “strengthen internal controls, achieve enhanced governance, and create an environment for greater stockholder value.” Equels was brought in, in other words, to institute a new era of efficiency and productivity in order to appeal to investors.

In an interview Equels stated that “commitment, integrity and cooperation” were to be the new bylines for Hemispherx. He made it clear – in fact, he repeatedly emphasized –  that Hemispherx Biopharma’s number one goal was getting FDA approval for Ampligen for chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). To that end, Hemispherx was developing an “overarching strategy” to pull in public and private investors to move the drug forward. Acknowledging that Hemispherx’s resources were limited at this point, he said he’d be pulling the plug on all non-priority activities.

That overarching strategy includes fixing Hemispherx’s strained relationship with the FDA. There’s been no love lost between the FDA and Hemispherx Biopharma. Several advocates told me they held their breath whenever the sometimes fiery Carter spoke at the FDA hearing. Some felt Hemispherx was treated unduly harshly, and not given the opportunity to respond when safety issues the company thought were resolved came to the fore.

race for Ampligen

Can Equels finally bring Ampligen across the finish line?

The FDA, however, acknowledges that ME/CFS community urgently needs drug options, and FDA officials have said that the safety issues for the drug have been resolved. Some advocates that have met with them believe they are eager to move forward on ME/CFS.

Equels said he’d met with Janet Woodcock at the FDA to understand where the FDA sees the gaps.  He pledged Hemispherx would be there “arms locked with FDA officials” to do what was necessary to move the drug forward.  Hemispherx officials also apparently quickly talked with NINDS chief Dr. Koroshetz  not long after NIH Director Collins announced the NIH would reinvigorate ME/CFS research.

At the end of the day, Equels said, we have a proven therapy – it’s about bringing it across the finish line.

Next up: Making the Case For Ampligen

(Disclosure: Hemispherx Biopharma has contributed funding to a project underway at Health Rising.)

FDA Advisory Meeting on Ampligen and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Pt I: Dueling Presentations Set the Stage For Critical Vote

Food_and_Drug_Administration

The Great Room

We were in the ‘Great room’ and it was  a great room; an impressive  room able to seat several hundred people with large screens covering the sides of one wall so that everybody had a clear view of what was going on.  With the FDA often following FDA Advisory Committee recommendations this was where many drugs got approved or not and it felt like it.

The meeting starting out with the FDA rep emphasizing that  they ‘got it'; that they understood chronic fatigue syndrome is a serious and sometimes devastating disorder that vitally needs treatment options.  Announcing that they were both  ‘delighted’  and ‘overwhelmed’ by the 750 testimonials from ME/CFS patients,  their servers promptly crashed under the weight of the large online crowd watching the proceedings.

One had the feeling they weren’t used to this level of patient participation.

Just two days prior to the hearing, the FDA made public  a highly critical 220 page document outlining the FDA’s concerns on the safety and efficacy data. Hemispherx employees, however, appeared confident they could answer the FDA’s queries.

The Meeting

Hemispherx presented first with its President Dr. Carter flashing Dr. Klimas’ famous quote that she’d rather have HIV than chronic fatigue syndrome and emphasizing that ME/CFS can be life-threatening  and is as debilitating as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Safety

A good part of Dr. Carter’s presentation was focused on safety.  The FDA’s background information and questions posted  just two days  earlier had made it clear safety was going to be a major issue; something that clearly flabbergasted Dr. Carter, who noted at one point, that it was not until this year that substantial safety issues had been raised.

One problem Hemispherx faced was that Ampligen is not just a new drug; it’s (a) a drug that affects the complex and powerful immune system, (b) it’s the first of a new class of immune drugs  to get this far at the FDA, and (c)some other drugs in this class have had substantial safety issues.  The FDA noted that autopsied rodents given Ampligen possibly indicated signs an overheated inflammatory response and they posed questions about the reliability of the safety data.

Sign the Petition to Approve Ampligen Here

Stating that Hemispherx had ‘irrefutable evidence’ the drug was not sparking a strong inflammatory response , Carter laid out why. The chemical structure of the drug  was distinctly different from the other drugs in its class  that had safety concerns. In contrast to those drugs Ampligen quickly metabolized into natural molecules indicating it was giving the immune system powerful but transient nudges – hardly the type of activity that would promote a sustained inflammatory response.

The first of a new class of drugs to come under review at the FDA, Ampligen's safety record got special scrutiny.

Hemispherx argued that Ampligen’s chemical makeup, it’s quick metabolism in the body and years of clinical data indicated that Ampligen was safe.

The rodent data was simply irrelevant ;  unlike humans rodents were slow metabolizers of the drug – which meant the drug sat around in their systems for long periods of time – a danger not faced by humans. Only primates, Dr. Carter asserted,  were acceptable test animals for this drug.

Plus 95,000 doses of the drug had been given safely  since 1997. Whatever issues FDA had with the original study data, dating back 20 years in one case, subsequent use had shown the drug to be safe.  Hemispherx’s  174 safety reports indicated the drug was safe, the drug was being safely used outside the country, no evidence of autoimmune illnesses had ever been reported  and  with some irritation Carter stated the drug’s safety concerns had been dealt with 18 years ago.  Carter also tried to allay cancer concerns by noting  Ampligen’s anti-cancer effects were currently being studied at academic centers.

Hemispherx’s chief researcher, Dr. Strayer reported that the no evidence of the FDA’s chief concern, an autoimmune response,  had ever been reported and then examined the case of one participant with transient liver problems (another FDA concern)  who’s health ended up improving greatly on the drug.

Indeed, the study data indicated the drug appeared to be safe with only minor symptoms (eg flu-like issues, nauseas, abdominal issues)appearing significantly more commonly  in Ampligen treated compared to placebo treated patients.  The FDA, though, was most interested in the outliers; the few  patients who reported severe illnesses while on Ampligen even if  they couldn’t be statistically traced to Ampligen.

Efficacy

Lecturing a bit, Carter moved on to assert the FDA had not done the proper type of analyses in their background review. He noted that   the drug’s five  moves from division to division in  the FDA, the company been given different instructions from each.  Hemispherx would also refute the FDA’s assertion they had not prepared a statistical plan until after a study was done.

Ampligen;s ability to raise endurance levels, one of the other most difficult things to achieve in this disorder, suggested the drug was getting at core features of the disease.

Ampligen’s ability to raise endurance levels, one of the other most difficult things to achieve in this disorder, suggested the drug was hitting core features of the disease.

(This will be a central theme for the FDA; researchers are not ‘allowed’ to examine data later and then highlight what works; they are expected to devise a plan  of attack and then stick to it.  Hemispherx will argue that they did this and the FDA will argue that they didn’t.)

Following close on Dr. Carter’s heels Dr. Lucinda Bateman told the panel her clinic had been involved in some 30  drug trials for chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.  Emphasizing the community’s  needs for good treatment options,  she reported that  available treatments tended to be poorly tolerated and generally had modest or no benefits.  She posted a report from Dr. Lapp, a  long time Ampligen provider,  that he’d seen from modest to remarkable results in his patients on Ampligen and had seen no serious side effects .

In response to a question,Dr. Batemen noted that the chief endpoint in the trial, increasing endurance, was a particularly difficult  thing to  achieve in chronic fatigue syndrome as endurance was one of the last things to improve as patients got better.

Dr. Strayer  showed that  Ampligen increases endurance much more than the five other drugs approved to do that in other diseases had done, that it significantly increases functionality (average Karnofsky score increases from 50-60) and  it allows patients to reduce the use of potentially damaging drugs.

Declaring that I am not a statistic, Bob Miller ended Hemispherx’s presentation with a powerful, personal review of the drug’s promise.

Hemispherx felt the treadmill endurance test results would be both pivotal to their case and difficult for the panel to understand and brought along an expert, Dr. Chris Snell of the Pacific Fatigue Lab,  to answer questions.  The panel, however, got swept up in other issues.

FDA Presentation

The FDA presentation was unremittingly critical. Using chart after chart, they pointed out  irregularities in the data and noted that several times the company changed course in midstream. At one point, for instance,  Hemispherx stopped its 1991 trial at 24 weeks instead of continuing it for a year as they’d promised.  Another time the company started a trial, recognized that the exercise protocols were too harsh and wiping out the patients, then revised it and eliminated the first 7 patients from the final data set.  That seemed to make sense, but every change bothered the FDA and considerable  discussion ensued about the significance of those 7 patients.

The FDA's presentation was critical of Hemispherx's safety and efficacy data.

Hemispherx evoked surprise at the FDA’s recent emphasis on safety data. The Agency was highly critical of what they felt were lapses in the data.

The FDA said that 41% of the people listed as responders no longer could be categorized as such as they continued on the drug in the post-trial cost-recovery period.  (Most of the original participants in  the trial continued on with the drug after the trial was over – itself a strong commendation for the drug. ). They stated that most of the statistical significance came from just a few patients who improved remarkably on the drug and from patients on placebo who fell apart.

Safety turned out to be a huge issue and the FDA brought up numerous small irregularities; an lupus flare reported for a patient although people with lupus  were supposed  to be excluded from study, abnormal liver tests in the raw data that didn’t show up in the final report, different numbers for patients who discontinued the study…

The FDA clearly took great affront at these irregularities; it wasn’t necessarily that they altered the results…it was that they were there in the first place. There was no doubt that this was a data set with problems and if you were watching Hemispherx’s stock you would have seen it rise after Hemispherx’s presentation and then plummet after the FDA’s.   Hemispherx would have to answer for them in the discussion period to follow. After lunch they appeared ready to do so.

In the end few disagreed that the data indicated  that Ampligen was effective at least a subset of patients. The disagreement was whether Hemispherx  should be allowed to move forward at that point or whether new studies should be done to target that subset.

Log Transformation

To “log transform” or not to was one of the major issues the FDA raised in their background report; the fact that log untransformed data  had shown that Ampligen had a significantly positive benefit while log transformed data indicated the drug (almost did but) didn’t have that effect.

This technical question would dog Hemispherx throughout the hearing; and they would ultimately answer it but  one had the feel that it was too late…that the damage had been done. Hemispherx’s statistician, with years of FDA experience under his belt, showed instructions from the FDA stating that log transformation should not be used unless necessary because it could skew the data, and then

Sign the Petition to Approve Ampligen Here

The FDA officials were focused on something else, though, when and why Hemispherx decided to log transform or not the data.  The big question was whether Hemispherx  saw the data before it decided whether or not to transform the data.  The statistician appeared to argue that Hemispherx had to check the variance to determine if transformation was warranted but in the end stated the biostatistician who prepared the data was no longer with the company and they didn’t know. That was a huge blow…

Never mind that Hemispherx had demonstrated that the log transformation data was not warranted or that non transformed data was appropriate …the FDA was mostly interested in whether the biostatistician had ‘followed the rules’.  It was a bizarre thing as a patient  to watch a drug that could help  ill people be held up on procedural issues but there it was.

Discussion Period

This is how the FDA approves drugs?  More impromptu debate  than rigorous analysis the discussion session kind of flowed along from topic to topic with a pro-FDA moderator calling the shots.  In fact, an actual debate, with each side arguing pro’s and con’s of each issue would have been much better.

The FDA's sloppy and rather ad hoc process which often felt hurried did not inspire confidence

The FDA’s sloppy and rather ad hoc process often felt hurried and did not inspire confidence

Instead of issues being  drawn up,  presented on the screens and then discussed in an organized manner with each side given equal time, the conversation lurched from topic to topic with the Hemispherx reps being frustrated spectators  too many times.

After lunch, Hemispherx had  appeared confident even after the morning pummeling they’d taken from the FDA team.   They felt they had answers to the FDA’s concerns but after the meeting, several members of the team felt they simply were not provided the opportunity to produce them.  The moderator did call on Hemispherx  several times but, for the most part, the FDA personnel to  held  the floor.

The short early discussion period  clearly left many questions hanging at a time when the issues were fresh in the reviewers minds but the later discussion period felt hurried as well.

Given the ad hoc nature of the discussion period drugs companies must shake in their boots and investors must tremble when they approach these meetings.  Then again, this is an FDA that gives companies 220 pages of background materials and a list of questions to be answered  two days before the meeting.  The FDA  team clearly has the upper hand in these hearings and that’s apparently how they want it.

Process vs Result

The hearing was largely a contest between those focused on  process and those focused on the  results.  The FDA stated months ago that changes in protocols as studies were underway meant the study was now a hypothesis gathering expedition not a validation study. If Hemispherx found out their exercise protocols were too harsh they should have stopped the study , redo their protocols, cleared them with the FDA, enrolled another group of patients and then redo the study. That’s not a process a small drug company will find easy to accomplish.

Sign the Petition to Approve Ampligen Here  

Hemispherx acknowledged that yes, at times, we had to change things   – but when we did, that data showed this drug helps ME/CFS patients. Given the needs of this  community we think that should be enough.

Indeed, the needs of the community loomed large in the minds of several panel members who stated that, however irregular the study follow through, they felt Hemispherx showed that the drug helps patients and that was the paramount issue for them.

Several of those who voted against the drug also agreed that Hemispherx did show efficacy at least for a subset of patients but they wanted standard protocols followed and felt  there were too many irregularities with the data. They encouraged Hemispherx to do another study.