CAIRO: “Solvadi”, a new drug formulated to combat hepatitis C, is expected to be released in Egypt starting in July, following registration with the Central Administration of Pharmacist Affairs, said member of the National Committee for Combating Hepatitis C Gamal Essmat on Wednesday.
Essmat told Youm7 that they agreed with Gilead, the company that will produce Sovaldi, to prepare 600,000 doses for an estimated 300,000 patients in Egypt during three stages this year.
The Ministry of Health and the company have officially signed an agreement to provide the new drug for a price 99 percent cheaper than the price on the international market, Essmat added.
On March 12, Minister of Health Adel Adawy declared in a statement that the negotiations between the ministry and the American company were successful and Egypt will obtain the drug for only 1 percent of its price internationally, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Adawy said the price of a one-month prescription in Egypt will cost $300 while in the U.S. it costs $28,000 a month. The full course will cost $13,000 instead of the $168,000 it costs in the U.S.
It is expected that the company will allocate the production line to the Ministry of Health to produce and regulate the product.
The high price of the drug produced by Gilead has sparked anger among people in different countries, according to Reuters.
Former Minister of Health Maha Rabat headed Egypt’s delegation in meetings with the executive board of the World Health Organization (WHO), where they discussed the price of the drug, Egypt representative to the United Nations in Geneva Walid Mahmoud Abdel Nasser said in a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement last February.
Rabat held meetings with the heads of the executive board member countries, senior officials in the WHO and representatives of the International Alliance against Viral Hepatitis Diseases, Doctors without Borders and the Organization of Patents for Medicines.
According to Nasser, they agreed to support making hepatitis c a top priority and to intensify efforts to provide the required medicine at “affordable prices”.
According to Reuters, Gilead said on March 22 that it was “pleased to have finalized an agreement” to provide the cure to Egypt, one of the countries with the highest rate of hepatitis C patients.
Gregg Alton, the head of corporate and medical affairs at Gilead, said in a statement that “We believe Sovaldi could have a major impact on public health in Egypt by significantly increasing the number of people who can be cured of hepatitis C,” according to Reuters.
Additionally reporting by Dana al-Hadedy.