File Photo: A laboratory assistant examines blood samples inside a laboratory (Photo: Reuters)
Over 171,000 Egyptians have registered online to receive the Sovaldi drug treatment for hepatitis C, Egypt’s health minister said on Saturday.
In July, the Egyptian government concluded an agreement with US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences to receive a shipment of the new hepatitis C (HCV) treatment Sovaldi at a fraction of its market cost.
Egypt has the highest rate of hepatitis C infections in the world, with a total of around 12 million Egyptians currently infected.
The government has said the treatment will be available for all patients between the ages of 18 and 70, although priority will be given to those with high levels of liver damage.
Health Minister Adel Adawy said at a Saturday press conference that the Daqahliya governorate has the highest numbers registered, at 21,803 patients. Sharqiya governorate comes in second with 18,640 registered, while there are 16,212 cases in Cairo governorate.
Patients who have registered for treatment will undergo a free initial examination, starting from Monday, at their nearest registered centres, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.
The ministry has dedicated a phone hotline, 19153, for questions on the necessary procedures to apply for the treatment
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.