CAIRO: Sovladi, a new treatment for hepatitis C owned by Gilead Sciences, is awaiting registration by the Egyptian government amid some reported concerns, Youm7 reported on Tuesday.
Sources in the Central Administration of Pharmaceuticals Affairs told Youm7 the reason for the delay in registration includes the fact that the drug has not yet been distributed in the United States, and that the American product is yellow, while the product designed for the Egyptian market is yellow and white.
Gilead did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A course of treatment of Solvadi in the U.S. would cost $84,000, whereas the price on the Egyptian market will be $900, Reuters reported.
“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,” Gregg Alton, head of corporate and medical affairs at Gilead, told Reuters.
Egyptian Health Minister Adel al-Adawy said Cairo has brokered a deal with Gilead for the government to buy Sovaldi for $300 per one-month dosage, according to a recent report by the state news agency MENA.
The Egyptian International Medical Center said that hepatitis C represents one of the most challenging health problems in Egypt, with 22 percent of Egyptians suffering from the disease, El-Balad reported. The center said 165,000 people are infected annually, El-Balad reported.
Sources told Youm7 that the research team working on cures for hepatitis C and AIDS allegedly invented by the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces is working to successfully cure 500 cases before announcing the launch of the cure officially on June 30.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization’s advisor for liver disease, Gamal Esmat, denied any conflict over Sovaldi or the postponement of its registration.
“There are some discussions to change the color of the drug’s box to make it differ from the kind in the U.S. so that it would not be smuggled because of the price difference,” he told Albawabh News.
Additional reporting by Dana al-Hadidi.