Health Ministry raises price of 54 medicines   
Egyptian health minister Ahmed Emad Eldin - YOUM7

CAIRO: The Ministry of Health has announced raising the price of 54 medicines amid an existing hike in prices and scarcity of certain medications at markets.

The ministry published a list of the medicines with the new pricing that has been put into effect.

Over the past few months, a shortage of vital medicines across Egypt has escalated; however, the ministry has repeatedly stated that alternatives to most of the missing medicines are available at pharmacies.

In a December 2015 bulletin, the ministry said that alternatives of a total of 189 missing medicines are available, while those that do not have alternatives estimated at 43 drugs, as quoted by Reuters on Feb. 11.

The news agency quoted Dr. Sabri el-Tawila, the head of Pharmaceutical Industry Commission at the Pharmacists Syndicate, saying that drug trade market in Egypt is worth 36 billion EGP annually (44.6 million) ; however, imports are worth only 30 percent of the figure.

Tawila told Reuters that there is a problem importing medicines amid a lack of dollars a the devaluation of the Egyptian pound against the dollar, adding that the syndicate has addressed the Health Ministry to increase the price of some medicines that were priced before the hike based on the dollar price.

Meanwhile, the ministry has been proposing imported and locally-made drugs to cure Hepatitis C virus at reduced prices, after they had proved successful effect in treating a prevailing infection in Egypt.

Domestically-produced Sovaldi drug, a Hep C treatment, costs 520 EGP ($74) after its cost was reduced at least three times within few months.

In 2015, around 157,000 patients have been treated using the Egyptian-made Sovaldi, the National Committee for Control of Viral Hepatitis (NCCVH) previously announced.

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