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Egyptian-born hep C drug inventor meets health minister

New treatment will be provided at reduced cost to thousands of Egyptians

Ahram Online, Friday 26 Sep 2014
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Egyptian-born Raymond Schinazi, the inventor of the Hepatitis C treatment Sovaldi (Photo: pedsresearch.org)
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The inventor of Sovaldi, a new hepatitis C treatment, met with Egyptian Health Minister Adel Adawy in Cairo on Friday, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.

Speaking on Friday he expressed his happiness at being in Egypt, and for having invented a drug that can help its citizens.

Raymond Schinazi was born in Egypt but left with his family in the 1960s.

Egypt’s health ministry sealed a deal with Gilead, the company producing Sovaldi, to provide the treatment at a fraction of its price to Egypt, which has the highest rate of hepatitis C infection in the world.

The agreement with Gilead Sciences will provide the drug for one percent of its market price, LE2,200 ($300), according to a previous statement by the health ministry.

With a total of around 12 million Egyptians currently infected, the first shipment of the drug will be provided to just 70,000 patients.

Egypt's government has set up an online registration system for patients to register for the treatment. Priority will be given to those with higher levels of liver deterioration.

Drugs would be given out to the optimal candidates starting in October.

The health minister met with Gilead Company's chief executive officer John C. Martin on Tuesday for talks of a second shipment.

If the deal on second shipment is fulfilled, another 70,000 patients would be treated by June 2015.

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