It’s Time To Stop Supplying Black Market GS

Updated April 27, 2023

This is a message to anyone still using black market GS- 441524 (commonly called “GS”) in Australia.

Important Note to Cat Owners: This page was written early in the treatment of FIP, when knowledge and access to drugs was scarce. Today, your own vet is fully capable of administering the treatment and saving your cat. For the best up to date information on treatment protocols and drug availability in Australia, please visit the page of Turramurra Veterinary Hospital.

Back at the start I supported you when you were breaking the law. I even put my reputation on the line and stood up for you against threats of prosecution. My attitude was “let them try; they wouldn’t dare.”

For back then if it wasn’t for you, many cats with FIP would have died. You provided an essential link between desperate cat owners and an illegal, yet life-saving drug. You allowed vets to offer their support without having to procure the drug themselves and risk their careers.

For this I will always be grateful. But there was still the problem of the law.

The issue with GS being illegal wasn’t so much the risk to vets or cat owners. It was that not enough people would ever hear about it. Most cats with FIP were still dying, because neither their owners nor their vets knew any different.

I was flat out treating FIP cats back then, but I knew I was seeing only the tip of the iceberg. There’s nothing heroic in saving only a few when you know the rest are missing out. But it was the best we could do.

That’s why I was ecstatic when some very clever people developed a legal alternative: compounded TGA-approved remdesivir. Australia may have even been the first, all thanks to them. Suddenly we could talk freely, share our experiences and read about FIP treatment in national vet publications.

Update: We now also have access to pharmaceutical-grade legal GS- 441524 tablets. These are around 2/3 the price of remdesivir injections, and easier to give for most cats.

At the time I thanked the providers of GS such as you, and bid them farewell. With all gratitude, your job was done, and a brighter future dawned of treatment for all. At least this was what I hoped.

At the same time I feared the opposite: that your enterprise would have too much momentum, self-belief and financial commitment to just shut up shop. And this is what has actually happened. What was once a blessing has become a curse.

Now every time I start a new cat with FIP on treatment, I have the same discussions. Once cat owners get given the diagnosis and start researching, they still find you. Except now you say things like:

  • GS works better than remdesivir
  • GS is safer
  • GS is cheaper

None of these, by the way, are true. New survival rates are at least as good, costs much the same, and the BOVA remdesivir we use stings far, far less. The best that can be hoped for with GS is equivalence, which itself is big ask for a drug that has no quality control or oversight. And one which still requires owners to break the law and hope no-one notices.

You who were once happy to work with vets have made yourself into our opposition. You appear to want FIP cats to be split off from the veterinary mainstream. And judging by your Facebook posts, you are quite successful at doing it.

It’s not just that your treatment is no better. Owners of newly diagnosed cats need tremendous levels of hands-on support to learn to give the injections effectively over the 84 day course. You cannot offer that. Your drug cannot be claimed back on pet insurance either.

I don’t know if you have a financial incentive, but I hope not. And before I get the understandable accusation of hypocrisy, hear this: I am in the possibly unique position of having had a significant drop in my income due to remdesivir. After all, I was probably the only Adelaide vet working with cats on GS, and now everyone uses remdesivir.

By continuing when you should have stopped you are fighting the future and defending the indefensible. Your law breaking is no longer excusable now that it’s not in the best interests of cats or their owners.

You need to end this. Preferably while I can still remember that gratitude.

Have something to add? Comments (if open) will appear within 24 hours.
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. Meet his team here.

Note: this in no way is a criticism of the use of GS in countries without a reliable and economical supply of remdesivir. I am happy to engage in an open online debate in the comments section below but not via private messages.

13 Replies to “It’s Time To Stop Supplying Black Market GS”

  1. Hi,
    I was wondering if I source remdesivir will my vet/nurses be able to administer the medicine. This might be a process for me while I learn how to do so and also because of the added personal fear needles myself, as well as worrying I am hurting my fur baby on a daily basis for an extended period of time. What an awful disease.

    Thanks, Ellie

    1. Hi Ellie. Most vets and nurses will happily offer assistance, usually at a small fee. But don’t worry: you can overcome your initial needle fears; we’ve done this hundreds of times with cat owners.

  2. Hi ,
    I have trouble getting products into the Canary Islands. My cat has been having the GS injections from FIP warriors, now on day 28 , they are very painful and now it is almost impossible to give her the full dose. They are unable to send me the tablets, they say it is impossible to get through customs, but I have been looking online and have found a company ( who say they can send me the tablets. Indeed were very quick to offer a 50% discount. I know you can not offer an opinion on every company out there selling this product, but how can I make sure I am dealing with a company that will send the correct product? Any advice would be welcome. Thank you

    1. Hi Linda. I haven’t heard of them personally, but that’s not surprising. The best thing you can probably do is make sure that you know of other people who have dealt with them successfully. However, have you tried other vets on the mainland inside your own country? It would be very surprising if they didn’t have access to tablets.

  3. Hi Andrew, proud pawrent here of Lucy and Linus who are now FIP Survivors. Lucy was treated on Rem injections and Linus was treated on Rem for the first 6 weeks and GS tablets for his last 6 weeks (he was one of the first to try them). I am so thankful that these drugs can now be legally administered here in Australia!

  4. Is it true that anti parasites and anti flea medication should not be given during the FIP treatment? Why?

  5. My beautiful cat 6yr old has Been Diagnosed with Wet FIP.
    We have had liquid drained from abdominal area and are giving him Anti nausea and steroids orally.
    He eats very little and drinks some water.
    I believe that he is probably starving and I cannot continue to do this to him.
    I would do anything for Martin.
    I am praying for courage to do what is humane and loving.

    1. Hi Hector. Most people can access GS or remdesivir in their area. Try searching for FIP groups in your local Facebook communities. Good luck.

    2. Hi Hector I am in the same boat as you. My 4 year old girl Bully has been diagnosed with wet FIP 2 and 1/2 months ago. My vet told me there is nothing they can do for her. The medication needed to treat her is not legal in Australia and they are not legally obligated to supply or sell or treat FIP patients with it. I have been doing a lot of research, reading about this medication that most probably can cure my Bully girl. I’ve looked at I am at wits end on all of this as I am waiting for the inevitable to happen…but there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.

      1. Hi Deborah. The information you have received is incorrect. Ask around and you’ll find that the treatment is readily available.

  6. Hi,
    I was just wondering how do you keep fip or corona virus out of your cattery?
    Is there a way to test your cats and if they have corona virus (which is quite common) what do you do from there?
    How do you prevent future litters from getting fip later in life?

    1. Hi Meena. It’s virtually impossible to keep coronavirus out of breeding catteries. Yes, it can be easily tested for, and so it is theoretically possible if you start with virus free cats and test every newcomer though. However, I never expect this to be done as it’s extremely difficult to maintain quarantine. As for FIP, there’s a link in the article above that explains how it develops but it’s essentially a freak occurrence.

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