Hemispherx Biopharma Inc.’s (AMEX symbol: HEB) (Price: $6.50) most recent fraudulent stock promotion and insider warrant exercise program is based on its claim that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (“CFS”) is a “real” disease and that an effective CFS treatment has large sales potential. First, the simple and uncontested fact is that CFS is not a disease. At best it is an ill-defined, controversial syndrome. Second, our reports dated September 30, 1998 and October 28, 1998 provide a clear and definitive fact based analysis that shows Hemispherx’s published U.S. CFS prevalence rates are completely baseless, exaggerated and false. Furthermore, it is important to note that CFS is considered by some highly informed experts to be a psychosomatic illness. Below is a summary of the findings of two leading researchers who have been persuaded in their determination that CFS is psychosomatic.
Gerald Weissmann, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Rheumatology at New York University Medical Center. He co-discovered liposomes and is a founder and director of The Liposome Company, Inc. (NASDAQ: LIPO). Dr. Weissmann has been awarded many prestigious honors, including the Lila Gruber Award for Cancer Research, a Guggenheim fellowship, the Allesandro Robecchi Prize for Rheumatology, the Distinguished Investigator Award of the American College of Rheumatology, and Paul Klemperer awards for inflammation research. He is a past President of the American College of Rheumatology. Dr. Weissmann has published essays and reviews in a number of prestigious magazines and newspapers, including The New Republic, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Dr. Weissmann authored a book titled Darwin’s Audubon that contains 24 of his essays. Dr. Weissmann has conducted research in at least 19 medical and scientific subjects, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. These are skeletal and muscle diseases that organically cause fatigue. Dr. Weissmann received a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from Columbia College and his M.D. from New York University College of Medicine.
Dr. Weissmann has openly discussed his opinions on CFS medical research and patient claims. Many of Dr. Weissmann’s medical CFS beliefs were published in his review of Edward Shorter’s book titled From Paralysis to Fatigue: A History of Psychosomatic Illness in the Modern Era. In this book, Mr. Shorter likens CFS to certain conditions of the past and identifies these conditions as psychosomatic. Dr. Weissmann has stated that CFS sufferers symptoms are often real. However, Dr. Weissmann has agreed with Mr. Shorter’s statement that the patient’s sub-conscious tends to form symptoms that are beyond medical specialists’ ability to disprove. Dr. Weissmann has pointed out that psychosomatic symptoms have historically changed over time. Dr. Weissmann has said that Mr. Shorter’s book reveals that medical professionals have been “beating up on female patients” by using pernicious treatments on psychosomatic conditions. Dr. Weissmann has also stated that this foolish practice can be traced to “its roots in medical misogyny.” In this review, Dr. Weissmann has noted that women have been the primary sufferers of psychosomatic conditions. Dr. Weissmann agrees with Mr. Shorter’s opinion that “the changing role of women over the last century” have caused changes in psychosomatic symptoms. Dr. Weissmann has stated that psychosomatic conditions, like CFS, can not kill, maim or provoke detectable body ills unlike real microbes, or viruses, which can.
Elaine Showalter is a professor of English and the Avalon Foundation Professor of Humanities at Princeton University. Dr. Showalter has extensively researched the history of medicine with an emphasis on psychiatry. She has authored several books, including The Female Malady and Hysteria Beyond Freud. Dr. Showalter is a Fellow of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in London. Dr. Showalter has lectured on medical history at hospitals in Europe and Canada and to the British Psychoanalytic Association, the Royal College of Physicians, and the History of Medicine Seminar in London. Dr. Showalter also writes and reviews for the British Medical Journal and Nature. She has been profiled in The Lancet and has written for numerous magazines and newspapers, including The New Republic, the New Statesman, The Times of London, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Dr. Showalter received her Ph.D. from The University of California at Davis.
Dr. Showalter has researched CFS and CFS patients for her book titled Hystories. Dr. Showalter has maintained CFS to be a psychological syndrome. Dr. Showalter has stated that “Chronic Fatigue is recognized as a syndrome, not a disease, much less an infectious disease.” Dr. Showalter has noted how CFS symptoms constantly change and are subjective. CFS sufferers usually show no objective clinical signs of disease. CDC’s first investigation into this mysterious condition was in 1985. This CDC investigation in Incline Village, Nevada, found merely 15 out of over 150 of the clinicians’ cases that had “longterm fatigue with no explanatory medical conditions.” The CDC defined CFS in 1988 and updated the definition in 1994. Dr. Showalter has shown that CFS cases have been over diagnosed. In fact, Rumi K. Price and Carol S. North of Washington University School of Medicine conducted a 1993 study. Out of 13,500 patients previously diagnosed with CFS, the study found only one person that actually met the CDC’s CFS criteria.
Hemispherx received approval to conduct Ampligen CFS Phase III trials over six years ago and has failed to conclude the trials. Ampligen is an off-patent, 25 years old infusion drug that has never received FDA marketing approval. In fact, Hemispherx has never filed or completed an NDA with the FDA for Ampligen. Hemispherx claimed that Ampligen was an effective treatment for at least 5 “real” diseases before creating its CFS treatment promotion. It is pointedly telling and foolish that Hemispherx’s stock promotion is based on a psychosomatic illness that can not be medically diagnosed.
Short selling involves a risk not associated with the purchase of stock including, but not only limited to, unlimited loss and stock borrowing risks. Additional information is available upon request.