Health ministry launches new website to distribute Hep C treatment drug

Ahram Online, Thursday 18 Sep 2014

The Ministry of Health has launched a website to coordinate treatment for Hepatitis C with a drug recently purchased from the US

Laboratory assistant
File Photo: Laboratory assistant examines blood sample inside laboratory (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt’s Health Ministry has launched on Thursday a new website for Hepatitis C patients to register to receive the (HCV) drug Sovaldi for treatment.

The website allows patients to register with their full names and a valid ID number so that in a period of 24 hours they can find the nearest medical center to receive treatment, Gamal Esmat, a member in the National Committee to Combat Hepatitis C told Ahram Online.

Esmat explained that the first step is to get patients to be examined to diagnose the stage of their virus and make sure that they need medical tests.

"We have to make sure that the patient has been examined and received all the required medical tests so that we can give them the proper dosage and treatment," states Esmat.

He also stressed that it is according to this examination that the ministry will decide whether or not the patient will be getting the treatment.

The aim of this website is to organize the number of patients going to medical centers around Egypt says Esmat, adding that "there are 26 medical centers around Egypt that are expecting patients in the upcoming period."

He then said that within the first few hours of the health ministry launching the website on Thursday, 1,700 patients had registered.

Esmat also told Ahram Online that the drug is available only for Egyptians who are living within the borders of the country and who possess valid IDs.

According to the newly launched website, the registration window will extend to 14 July 2015.

The member of the national committee highlighted that Egypt has a contract with national and International companies to export the entire needed dose to cure all Egyptians diagnosed with the virus.

"We have a contract with national and international companies to export all the needed doses of the drug within the next ten years," stressed Esmat.

Last July, the Egyptian government concluded an agreement with US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences to receive a shipment of the Hepatitis C (HCV) drug Sovaldi.

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

Egypt has the highest rate of Hepatitis C in the world. Infections spiked from four percent in 1993 to 8.5 percent in 2005. The total estimated number of Egyptians infected is currently around 12 million.

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