Egypt's health minister has ordered that five patients who suffered severe complications following an eye injection earlier in February be sent to receive treatment in Germany.
The incident, which has stirred public debate, occurred when doctors at a hospital in the Nile Delta city of Tanta injected Avastin (bevacizumab), one the world's top selling cancer drugs, into the eyes of a number of patients.
The drug is said to treat eye diseases, but this is considered an “off-label” use.
Health Minister Ahmed Emad El-Din Rady said Monday that the five patients would be sent to Germany to receive the necessary treatment.
The state will fully cover the cost of €12,000 ($13,300) for the month-long treatment of each patient at the Klinikum Frankfurt Höchst hospital, health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.
"The ministry aims to provide the patients with a better chance to be treated abroad after all forms of medical care were provided to them in Egypt,” Megahed said.
The complications were caused by insufficient sterilisation, health ministry officials said earlier, dismissing reports that the drug is internationally banned.
Five of those subjected to the injection have suffered major side effects, two of whom are in serious condition, medics have said.