Virotherapy cancer treatment's right to reply

On October 2, we ran a story about an extraordinary series of emails published online between American oncologist David Gorski, and Lelde Lapa, Assistant of the business development department of the International Virotherapy Center (IVC) which has an office in Riga but is officially based in Dubai.

At the end of the story we noted that we had asked Ms. Lapa and IVC to give their opinion of whether or not the published emails were an accurate representation of the exchange with Dr. Gorski.

On October 14 we received a reply from Ms. Lapa stating: "'We have not examined the published communication and we cannot confirm it because it contains accompanying comments to which we can not agree." 

However, Ms. Lapa also said: "I know that you have published some story and it would be appropriate if our opinion would appear."

We are very happy to provide that opportunity. Below you will find her four-point response, which may or may not comment obliquely upon this commentary piece we published one day before receiving her reply.

  1. If someone analyses only published data then he can give the evaluation only to those, not the efficacy of the medicine. Especially if it is registered for 13 years and used for more than 40 years in clinical practice and last 6 years for approximately 70% of reimbursed melanoma patients. RIGVIR is prescription medicine and obviously doctors prescribe it to the patients because they know that it helps. What about the fact that latest targeted treatment (with RTC trials and recent FDA approvals) works only in rear cases (~20%) – how doctors know which 2 of 10 patients will be lucky one? (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/04/27/cancer-treatment-hype-gives-false-hope-many-patients/100972794/)  
  2. If someone attacks registered medicine he needs to perform clinical trial and prove that it does not work. What about  the fact that over 13 years there was no claim about RIGVIR to FDA (ZVA) in Latvia?
  3. If someone calls himself a watchdog of objectivity or sceptic, then how can he easily believe to articles without any proven references or sources, that contains statement from people openly in conflict of interest and that is published in non-official portals in order to avoid responsibility for aspersion? What about the fact that producer of the medicine before any publication about the efficacy or proves was never approached regarding the data, is it ok for someone who calls himself a scientist?
  4. If someone claims that RIGVIR does not work and the spent money on 70% of approximately 225 melanoma cases annually can be used to something that really work, then he needs to indicate that “something” and give best estimate how much of them can Latvia treat with 700 thousand USD (Please refer to The Economist 16 September 2017 to guess the answer).  
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