CAIRO: Egypt is planning to sell Sovaldi, the American-engineered hepatitis C treatment, at a price of 600 EGP ($80) per bottle, Health Minster Adel al-Adawy told Youm7 Saturday.
“The medicine is locally manufactured with its price four times cheaper than its U.S. equivalent. There are 10 local companies who agreed on dedicating 25 percent of their production capacity to Sovaldi,” Adawy said.
The decision complies with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’ directives to secure one million bottles for hepatitis C patients across the country, Adawy said.
“We cooperated with the civil society and we succeeded in collecting 180 million EGP, to be dedicated to the president’s initiative, as it targets treating one million patients in 8 months,” said Adawy.
Sisi’s initiative of producing one million bottles of Sovaldi is planned to help implementing the governmental efforts in reducing the number of hepatitis C patients by 2020.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, Egypt has the highest rate of hepatitis C infection in the world; 14.7 percent of the population between ages 15-49 have tested positive for the virus.
In September 2014, Egypt imported 225,000 Sovaldi bottles from the U.S., manufactured by the Gilead Science Company, and also a received a similar amount in March 2015. The sticker price for the drug 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 stores of the medication to Egypt for a 99% discount, with Cairo subsidizing much of the remaining costs to provide treatment to its citizens.