Sovaldi for curing hepatitis C (Photo courtesy of Gilead Sciences Inc.)
Egypt has started distributing Sovaldi, a drug for treating Hepatitis C.
Health Minister Adel Adawi announced at a press conference on Thursday that a new national plan was underway for the prevention of viral Hepatitis, which is rampant in Egypt.
The plan involves creating a database of patients in order to offer them future treatment strategies, and employing the latest treatment methods in hospitals.
Adawi had announced earlier that Egypt had received the first batch of Sovaldi – 50,000 doses - and his ministry was taking procedures to examine and distribute it. Media reports say that another 100,000 doses are expected by February.
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.
Patients can register on a government website to receive the drug at their nearest medical centre. On 20 September, the ministry said over 171,000 people had registered to receive the drug.
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.
In February, the Egyptian army claimed to have invented a device that detects and cures Hepatitis C. The claims were met with disbelief and ridicule by the international scientific community.