Post Treatment Side Effects
Friday, February 24, 2006 10:55 AM

Hepatitis C

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This is a copy of a letter that I wrote to SPG. I have tried so many things to get myself healthier during the past 4 years, but I am no where as healthy as I was before. I’ve looked at your website. I’m afraid of the Nutraceuticals due to the Mad Cow disease, etc. I can’t afford anything that can harm my health any further. Got any ideas?

I am writing to you regarding a problem concerning the Peg-Intron treatment for Hepatitis C. As you will see from the enclosed documentation, I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and began the treatment program using the combo treatment November 30, 2001.

The problem I am having is, “Continuing Adverse Effects,” which include fatigue, sleep disorder, abnormal central nervous system functioning, constant diaharea, fever, sweats, dry mouth, anxiety, joint pain, muscle pain, inability to read for longer than 15 minutes without severe migraine headaches, and mental confusion.

Although I am much better than the first 2 years after taking the medication, I am still disabled, unable to work, and function at perhaps only 40% of my past capability. I have gone from an individual who earned a very comfortable salary in the building industry, to someone who can only drive short distances, must sleep a minimum of 12 hours daily, needing to continuously take pain killers and sleeping aids. Unfortunately, I am acquainted with over 100 people who are suffering similar permanent disabilities from taking this drug.

From the doctors that have seen me, I have learned that it is common knowledge that quite a few patients taking this treatment suffer from these, “Continuing Adverse Effects. Unfortunately, the doctors only know how to treat the medical problems by proscribing more drugs. If I were to take all the medications suggested to me, I would be a walking zombie or asleep for the majority of every day.

I am under the care of a GP, Gastroenterologist, Hepatologist, Neurologist, Psychiatrist, and Rheumatologist, and an Orthopedic Pain Management Specialist. All have agreed and documented that serious problems exist which I did not have before taking Peg-Intron Combo Treatment.

Aside from the medical care, I am involved in a rigorous program of stringent diet, exercise, yoga, and supplements to maintain and strengthen my body. I have researched to the best of my ability and applied any modality that may help me to regain my strength and general good health I enjoyed before I embarked upon this treatment.

It’s apparent to me that Schering-Plough is aware of some of the possibilities of “Permanent Adverse Effects” because the company filed with the FDA to amend it’s Black Box Warning to include the, “Possible Continuing Adverse Effects after Cessation of Treatment.”

I have brought this matter up with your company before and was referred to Morgan Webber from your litigation department. He was very pleasant and offered to check on the matter internally. He also authorized me and offered to have Schering underwrite an extensive evaluation. Based on his request, I went to see to doctors who evaluated me. When I put in a request for reimbursement, no funds were forthcoming. With one doctor, I spent $10,000. for an evaluation. Eventually, Mr. Webber did send me a check for $5,000. to help defray my costs.

I understand that Hepatitis C is a worldwide threat and that your company is actively involved with treating the virus. As I am sure you are aware, Hepatitis C is also rampant in our military. I cannot believe that Schering-Plough has a callus attitude to the people suffering from the virus that it would knowingly inflect more damage by the medication advocated for treatment. It only seems logical that Schering-Plough should be most interested in discovering what type of damage this medication does to some people who take it.

For myself, this is not a matter for litigation, most of us that are damaged are past the statute of limitations. Speaking for myself again, no amount of money could compensate me for the last 4 years of illness. I am 52 years old now, and have the remaining 30 or 40 years of my life to live in this semi-crippled state.

What I would like to know is: What did this medication do? There is suspicion of central nervous system damage, possibly immune system damage, lung and heart damage. It’s extremely frustrating for the patient and the doctor to not know what they are trying to treat.

I feel certain that, due to the amendment to the Black Box Insert, your scientists have information about what body systems the medication damaged. We patients, (customers) would like to have access to that information. Most of us have reported the “Continuing Adverse Effects” to Schering-Plough and the FDA, but no one has ever heard that any kind of research is being conducted to discover or resolve the Continuing Adverse Effects.

Ideally, I would like Schering-Plough set up research and discover just what has happened to us. I, and many of the people I have spoken with are willing to offer themselves for that research which will ultimately help Schering-Plough as I am sure the company has no interest in selling medications that are so potentially damaging to patients.