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After Backlash, Drug Company Gives Meds to Save Dying 7-Year-Old

Drug company relents, offers potentially life-saving medication to dying boy

The story of Josh Hardy and his fight to live had people everywhere up in arms this week; but at last, there is news that it may have a happy ending.

The 7-year-old boy has survived four rounds of kidney cancer, heart failure and even a bone marrow transplant. But despite all that bravery, his health was threatened again in the last week, when a viral infection attacked his body. His doctors at St. Jude's Children's Hospital recommended he try brincidofovir, an antiviral drug known to help in such cases. The only problem? The Food and Drug Administration hasn't officially approved it.

And yet, while the lack of FDA approval wouldn't exactly stand in the way of Josh taking it in such an extreme case (thanks to its "compassionate use" clause), the drug company who manufactures it was. According to reports, the pharmaceutical company Chimerix denied Josh on the grounds that giving it to him would actually slow its efforts to get the drug approved and marketed.

Heartbroken and desperate to get their son one of the only medications that could save his life, Josh's parents went straight to the news. "Our son will die without this drug," Josh's father, Todd, pleaded on CNN. "We're begging them [Chimerix] to give it to us."

Hearing their cries, thousands took to social media to blast Chimerix for its lack of compassion—tweeting with the hashtag #SaveJosh and posting their feelings on his official Facebook page. Finally, a press release yesterday announced that Chimerix has relented, and will grant Josh the medication he needs.

Medical ethicist Arthur Caplan of the New York University Langone Medical Center recently spoke with USA Today to discuss the case, sharing his "huge sympathy for the family." That said, he noted that using experimental drugs is a risk, but one often worth taking. "It's always a longshot that it will help and not make things worse," he said, but added that he felt the Hardy family was still "right to try and see what they can get for their child."

In the meantime, we're keeping our fingers crossed for Josh's recovery.

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