CAIRO: Egypt will receive a new batch of the hepatitis C treatment medication Sovaldi from the U.S. Gilead Sciences Company in March 2015, Dr. Gamal Esmat, a member of Egypt’s Viral Hepatitis C Committee, told The Cairo Post Friday.
The batch will be similar to an earlier batch of 225,000 bottles recently received at a reduced price.
A week ago, a website was launched to allow hepatitis C patients to register to receive the treatment. Hundreds of thousands of registrants between ages 18-70 have registered for pre-treatment examination.
Egypt has the highest rate of hepatitis C infection in the world according to the United Nations Population Fund, according to which 14.7 percent of the population between ages 15-49 have tested positive for the virus.
Esmat said that according to the selection guidelines available on the website, patients with “more urgent cases” and liver fibrosis will be treated first with Sovaldi during the next six months.
“The guidelines will be changed every six months, amid the rise of new hepatitis C treatments across the world, which will enable more patients to be treated in the future,” added Esmat.
Starting from March 2015, more patients will be able to receive the cure, as other medications will be generic, he said.
He added that the Ministry of Health is planning this year to treat 150,000 patients with the drug, and in the coming years “the plan will be to cure from 250,000 to 300,000 patients each year.”
Esmat also said Minister of Health Adel el-Adawy is trying to make the price of the medicine at pharmacies closer to its price at government medical clinics, which is 2,000 EGP ($307) per pack.
“There are a number of Egyptian private companies who are seeking to manufacture Sovaldi and are negotiating the price,” he added.