HUNGARIAN drug distribution company Medimpex has been granted exclusive rights to import and sell to retailers the Cuban cancer-fighting drug Vidatox.
The drug, produced by protein peptides from the venom of the blue or Rhopalrus Junceus scorpion — endemic to Cuba — will be available in Jamaican pharmacies before the end of October, an official of Medimpex told the Jamaica Observer.
"On September 18, we signed a contract with Cuban company Labiofam, which distributes Vidatox and we are awaiting the first shipment in another four weeks," Medimpex's Managing Director Laszlo Bakon said.
"We see a huge potential for the drug in Jamaica, because cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Jamaica and other countries of the world.
"The demand is definitely there. We have held meetings with oncologists in Jamaica and the feedback from them and the rest of the market is good. It is a unique cancer treatment," Bakon said.
Jamaica's Ministry of Health approved the introduction of Vidatox to the shelves of local pharmacies, following its registration on June 18, when a team of technocrats from the socialist country visited.
Early indications are that the cost of the oral drug could be in the region of US$150 for a 30ml bottle, which normally represents two months' usage.
Vidatox is already being used in Asia, Europe, North, South and Central America.
The drug has been used to treat cancer-related ailments among the Cuban population for over 200 years. This followed 15 years of clinical research spearheaded by Cuban biologist Misael Bordier and tests involving more than 10,000 people — 3,500 of them foreigners — which yielded positive results in improving quality of life, retarding tumour growth and boosting the immune system in cancer patients.
The drug is said to be safe,
with no side effects, and is principally used along with conventional medicines.
"The Cubans have done their job and from now on it will be our job to put it on the market. There is a lot of scepticism from the western world about the drug, but the truth always triumphs. When they see what happens to patients, then they will believe. We have clinical proof that Vidatox works," said Bakon, who is also Hungary's honorary consul in Jamaica.
Cuba's Ambassador to Jamaica, Yuri Gala Lopez, hailed the new business alliances.
"I hope that doctors in Jamaica will take advantage of this partnership, as steps like this will strengthen the already close relationship between Jamaica and Cuba," Gala Lopez said.
Bakon said that there would be sharp monitoring of the use of the drug and meetings have been held with the National Health Fund and the Jamaica Cancer Society, but no direct communication has been established with the management of public hospitals yet.