A wolf in sheep’s clothing: peddlers of unproven cure in European Cancer Patient Coalition

UPDATE: ECPC has revoked the membership of Virotherapy Foundation, please see this blog post.

European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), an organisation that protects the interests of cancer patients at the European level, has accepted as a full member Aina Muceniece Virotherapy Foundation, a front-organisation for a pharmaceutical manufacturer of a virotherapy drug Rigvir. Virotherapy Foundation proudly announced becoming a full member of ECPC in May 2018 and just as proudly displays ECPC logo on their website. Therefore it appears that Rigvir has engaged in astroturfing at European level by creating a fake organisation as a part of attempts to attract more foreign patients and gain more legitimacy to an otherwise obscure treatment. Latvian skeptics suggest caution: the Foundation appears to be a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ and may harm cancer patients and the reputation of ECPC.

 

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What is Rigvir and what are the claims made about it?

Sometimes a single image says more than a thousand words.

But is Rigvir really your chance to live, if you have been diagnosed with cancer?

What is Rigvir?

Rigvir is an unproven anti-cancer treatment developed in Latvia. Its proponents claim that it is an oncolytic ECHO-7 enterovirus found in the gastrointestinal tract of young children, that it supposedly destroys cancer cells without harming normal cells, and works in a wide variety of cancers. Importantly, while outside of Latvia Rigvir is only sold by clinics with highly dubious alternative cancer treatments, in Latvia it is an official prescription drug, registered in our State Medicines Agency, reimbursed by the state, and even included in the clinical guidelines for treatment of melanoma. This gives it a veneer of respectability and reassures foreign patients who might normally not choose alternative cancer treatments. Most importantly – this is not an issue that affects only Latvians, as approximately 90% of the income of Rigvir holding comes from foreign cancer patients (USA, UK, Australia, EU countries, etc.), who get this treatment by traveling either to Global Virotherapy Cancer Clinic in Latvia, or to its quack partner clinics.

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