Sovaldi Product Photo (Reuters)
Some 15 million Egyptians suffer from Hepatitis C- 22 percent of the population- Health Minister Adel Adawy said on Sunday.
Adawy’s comments came during the opening of an Indian factory that will produce a drug to cure hepatitis C using the same active pharmaceutical ingredient as the US-approved drug Sovaldi.
Sofosbuvir – commercially named Sovaldi – was approved in the United States in December 2013 and entered Egypt in October 2014.
Adawy said the factory, which constitutes eight production lines, is set to provide half a million units, state news agency MENA reported.
Last year, Egypt's health ministry brokered a deal with US biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences to import the drug at a cost of $900, down from its cost in the US of $84,000 for a three-month treatment.
Gilead at the time confirmed signing a licensing agreement with seven Indian companies to develop and market the drug, as well as saying that they can set the price for it and receive a complete technology transfer of their manufacturing process.
Egypt has the highest prevalence of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the world according to the World Health Organization.
Every year there are 170,000-200,000 new HCV cases in Egypt.