CAIRO: The government is negotiating importing Harvoni, a U.S. hepatitis C treatment produced by Gilead Science, at a reduced price, Ministry of health spokesperson Hossam Abdel Ghaffar announced Monday.
“We are currently negotiating with the U.S. company to order a batch of the medicine, which costs $400 per bottle; however, we are trying to have it at a lower price,” Abdel Ghaffar said in Press statements.
In September 2014, Egypt imported 225,000 bottles of Sovaldi, another hepatitis C treatment also manufactured by Gilead Science, and a similar amount in March 2015.
The sticker price for the Sovaldi is approximately $1,000 per pill in the U.S. market, with a 12-week course of treatment amounting to $84,000 according to Forbes magazine. However, the manufacturer has provided the medication to Egypt at a 99 percent discount, with Cairo subsidizing much of the remaining cost to provide treatment to its citizens.
In an effort to further reduce the price of the medication, Egypt-based Pharmed Healthcare will inject 500,000 bottles of locally-made Sovaldi in June, Youm7 reported.
Egypt has the highest rate of hepatitis C infection in the world, according to the United Nations Population Fund; 14.7 percent of the population aged 15-49 have tested positive for the virus.
The Ministry of Health has said it treated 150,000 patients last year, and that it plans to treat 250,000 to 300,000 patients in 2015.