The Transferon, a biological medicine developed in the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) has become a millionaire and opaque business in the National School of Biological Sciences (ENCB): in 2019, 323 thousand units of the drug were sold, which left at least 110 million pesos in profits.
However, the numbers don’t add up. Officially, the school only reported income for 50.5 million for his sale. Of the rest, their fate is unknown.
The « dialyzable leukocyte extract”Patented by IPN sold in the National School of Biological Sciences and in a CECyT in three different prices: 340 for low-income people, 390 for workers and 500 pesos for the general public. On average, if the 323 thousand 706 bottles had been sold at the lowest price, 340 pesos, they would have obtained more than 110 million pesos.
In the Report of the National School of Biological Sciences 2019, half of that money was not reported and only confirmed sales for 50 million pesos. At the same time, Biserma, the company that is dedicated to its distribution is owned by the husband of the director of the Medical and Biotechnological Research, Development and Innovation Unit (Udimeb), Mayra Pérez Tapia.
The number of bottles sold by Leucotec -Biserma’s firm that distributes it throughout the country-, but it is indicated that the company reported sales to IPN for 29 million in 2018 and for 41 million in 2019.
Consulted in this regard, Pérez Tapia, director of the Medical and Biotechnological Research, Development and Innovation Unit (Udimeb), the public face of Transferon, admitted that in the report « there are inconsistencies », but stressed that she is not responsible for managing the economic resources generated by the drug.
Who is responsible for the finances of Transferon?
The National School of Biological Sciences. I do not collect the money, I do not touch the money, and it seems dangerous to make these statements, there is no lack of money. What happens is that the units, it is possible that the report is not clear enough, but to say that there is no money is like saying that they are selling factor without entering money (…) The document is made by the school accountant, which is not my accountant. If there is any incongruity in numbersIt is not my responsibility, I think they make them thinking that no one is going to consult them.
In an interview with MILLENNIUM, the researcher highlighted that the manufacturing process of the Transferon is patented by the IPN, which means « the patent most important of the institute worldwide ”. He indicated that it is produced in a plant within the Udimeb, whose production capacity is about half a million bottles per year.
« We have a commitment with the health authority this year to double our plant and to meet a series of requirements that previously we did not meet because it was a very small plant, » he said.
According to the report, in 2018 only 169,524 bottles of Transferon; Taking into account the lower cost of 340 pesos, they add up to 57 million 638 thousand pesos, but less income is also reported: 42 million 893 thousand pesos.
In this regard, the director of Udimeb pointed out that only 169 thousand bottles « is hardly what we sell in point of sale”, So the mentioned figures do not include the income that the ENCB you get from the sale of Transferon through your distributor.
Transferon, has not obtained health registration
Transferon was developed in 1978 for patients with herpes Y atopic dermatitis. Over the years, « various research projects were developed to support the treatment of other conditions such as respiratory, hypersensitivities and immunodeficiencies », indicates the own IPN it’s a statement.
However, without questioning whether it is effective or not, the innovative product that would have to represent a contribution to the country was transformed into a mechanism to profit from the sick under the seal of the Polytechnic.
Mayra perez tapia, revealed that the record of Oral Transferon that they sell, there is still in process before the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris), and through dialogue with the directors of the IPN, the health authority has allowed the product to continue to be produced and sold over the years, since it represents 93 percent of the income of the National School of Biological Sciences.
“We should have characterized it first, then have the product, then the plant, the studies and until the end sell. In Mexico This was not done, there is a co-responsibility of all, of the IPN and the Cofepris. The Cofepris has known for years that we do what we do, for years the directors of the Polytechnic they sat down with the federal commissioner to say: in this period we are going to comply with this little bit, and now with this other one so that little by little we will cover the sanitary requirement ”, he acknowledged.
The Transferon was developed in 1978 by the Dr. Sergio Estrada in the IPN, “when at that time in the regulations the studies were not requested as now, nor was the immunology as it is now known, nor what did the dialysable leukocyte extract have in its mixture ”.
In 1994, the Dr. Jesus Kumate in front of the Health Secretary granted to transfer factor the first sanitary registration, when the product was injectable and « it was still not fully characterized », until 1997, when the researcher joined the process and detected that the problem was the process, she said.
“At that time, the Polytechnic facilities did not have the robustness of a pharmaceutical plant and there was no batch reproducibility; when the factor starts to be reviled, like: that thing doesn’t work, it’s because sometimes it had a biological effect and sometimes it didn’t. It was not a problem of the peptide mixture, but of the process, as if an aspirin sometimes had five percent acetylsalicylic acid, sometimes 100 and sometimes it had nothing ”, he explained.
Before the year 2000, 300 bottles were made in a laboratory, so he asked the authorities of the IPN promote the project to massify its production, which implied the beginning of the sanitary regulation that has not ended yet, but for which they went from four to 220 employees, with a production capacity of half a million bottles of Oral Transferon year.
When the pandemic arrived in Mexico, National Polytechnic Institute announced last April the recruitment of patients that begin with the symptoms of covid-19 to test the effectiveness of Transferon in a clinical trial, coordinated by Dra. Pérez Tapia.
The news drew criticism from specialists such as Dr. Alejandro Macías, infectologist of the University of Guanajuato and the researcher Juan Sierra Madero from Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition, through the social network Twitter, a medium through which immunologist Irma Aguilar Delfín has repeatedly pointed out that the transfer factor has not been able to demonstrate its effectiveness.
Faced with covid-19, IPN prepares the start of Transferón (transfer factor) tests.
The study is NOT blinded, does NOT compare against placebo, and is NOT randomized.
It is obvious, it is a study to show that it DOES work.
Save it! https://t.co/UtvlghFELg
– Alejandro Macias (@doctormacias) April 24, 2020
Various experts have questioned the Transferon efficacy, whose registration number 483M94 SSA with Cofepris expired on November 7, 1999. In the registration form it is indicated that the authorization was given for the transfer factor in its presentation of cardboard box with a vial with powder, it is I mean, it was injected, but currently the Transferon it is oral.
Despite this, and still without obtaining results from its clinical trial, the ENCB’s official website recommends the use of Transferon to the population “in the absence of a specific treatment (against covid-19) and based on clinical experience of the specialist doctors that make up the USEIC, we recommend the use of Transferon as a strategy to reinforce immune system of people with respiratory symptoms ”.
Gustavo Reyes Teran, holder of the Coordinating Commission of the National Institutes of Health and High Specialty Hospitals (CCINSHAE), has also lamented that the same institution that produces Transferon prescribes it to patients and that they suggest that it can prevent the covid-19 without having shown it.
« Transferon has not shown anything, we know that it is not beneficial and we do not know if it can be harmful and also the patients pay for it, that from my point of view is completely inappropriate, » he said in an interview with MILLENNIUM last September, underlining that this product does not have any preventive effect against him covid-19.
For his part, Mauricio Rodríguez, professor at the School of Medicine of the UNAM warned that « at Transferon properties ranging from curative to preventive are attributed to it, and they say it works for everything ”, which is why it is considered a miracle product.
“They attribute multiple uses to it, which is beginning to be difficult to understand; When they say that something works for everything, it is most likely anecdotal, perhaps or that an adequate statement of the evidence is not being made. If the product works as they say it works, we will know, the important thing is that it guarantees the safety of the participants in any clinical study and the regulatory entity must be aware of it ”, he pointed out.