CAIRO: The Ministry of Health will receive a total of 30,000 bottles of the imported U.S. Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi by Oct. 19, in order to be distributed among liver centers to be available for patients.
In Sunday statements to Youm7, the head of the National Committee for Combating Viral Hepatitis diseases Waheed Dous said that the distribution of Sovaldi will be expanded to 44 centers within 15 days.
Treatment using Sovaldi began in Egypt in 2014 after Egypt imported the drug, manufactured by Gilead Sciences, at a 99 percent discount.
Dous added that the patients, who did not respond to treatment using Sovaldi, will receive Daklinza; a new “complex” drug expected to arrive in Egypt in November.
Daklinza, along with Qurevo and Harvoni, are three new drugs to be incorporated as part of the ministry’s plan for “the second generation of treatment.”
Treatment with Sovaldi was either triple cocktail with Ribavirin and Interferon injection (lasting for three months,) or a double cocktail of Ribavirin (for six months.)
A total of 170, 000 hepatitis C patients have been treated so far using different medication protocols signed by the state, Dous told Youm7 Wednesday.
“Using Sovaldi with Ribavirin for 24 weeks is better for all patients, where the percentage of recovery reaches 90 percent,” Gamal Essmat, a member of the committee told Youm7.
Essmat added that “as long as we stay away from Interferon and Ribavirin, the treatment is more safe and less in side effects.”
He said that new Qurevo drug is suitable for Egyptian patients “because it has high degree of safety.”
While for the third new drug, Harvoni, Essmat said that patients with low incubation of the virus C take it for eight weeks, and for those who either do not suffer liver fibrosis or have fibrosis in early stage can use it for 12 weeks.
He added that there is a plan to reduce the drugs, like Sovaldi, to be less than 400 EGP/bottle.
Ministry of Health officials consider the new imported medications as “revolution” in the treatment of the Hepatitis C in Egypt, as high rates of infection has been reported each year.
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 ages 15-49 have tested positive for the virus.