Egyptian prosecutors urge cabinet to distribute stockpiled hepatitis C drugs

Ahram Online , Monday 14 Nov 2016

The government has been using a variety of medicines to completely eliminate the wide-spread disease from the country, with much success

Egypt Prime Minister Sherif Ismail (AP)
Egypt Prime Minister Sherif Ismail (AP)

The Administrative Prosecution Authority has called on Prime Minister Sherif Ismail on Monday to act to distribute more than 50,000 packets of hepatitis C medication before the drugs expire.

Investigations by the authority revealed the failure of the state-owned Egyptian Pharmaceutical Trading Company to distribute stocks of the treatment, Klatzev, worth EGP 68 million, according to the prosecution.

The expiry date of the packets are March, May, and June of 2017.

The investigation revealed that the state-owned company had purchased large quantities of Klatzev from a US producer worth EGP 118 million, but has not made all of it available to the public.

Ali Rizk, the head of the Administrative Prosecution, told reporters that the cabinet should distribute all of the cure before its expiry date to prevent squandering of public funds.

Egypt has one of the highest prevalence rates of the virus in the world, according to the World Health Organisation.

Some 15 million Egyptians - out of a population of 91 million - suffer from the infection, or around 22 percent of the population, according to 2015 statistics.

The Health Ministry has recently said it achieved 96 percent cure rate of hepatitis C through intense efforts in the past two years using a variety of medicines.

The ministry vowed to completely eliminate the disease by 2021.

The WHO has praised Egypt`s recent efforts to control the virus, including the subsidisation of new treatments.

"Egypt has a become an example to follow all over the world, not only for giving hope to combat the disease but also for concerted efforts in a national action plan that includes protection through raising the societal awareness of the ways of infection of the virus and means of treatment, providing medicine for patients, follow-up and continued evaluation of the action plan," the organisation's director general, Margaret Chan, said in a statement last month. 

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