Doctor: New Hepatitis C drug cure rate exceeds 90%

Doctor Gamal Esmat, a hepatologist in Qasr al-Aini Hospital and a member of the National Committee for Hepatitis Treatment told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the committee has finalized the general guidelines based on which they will prioritize the patients receiving the first installment of hepatitis C drug, 50, 000 doses, which is scheduled to arrive in six months, followed by another installment of 100,000 doses

A committee of experts including hepatology professors representing different universities will vote on the guidelines set by the committee on the 16 August, Esmat told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Explaining the procedure, Dr. Esmat said that the patient who wishes to receive treatment would head on the first of September to the nearest hepathology medical center affiliated with the National Committee for Hepatitis Treatment; which are 26 centers. Patients will have to provide their national IDs and their health record, he added.

According to Dr. Esmat, the committee will study the cases and decide which ones are entitled to urgent treatment.

Dr. Esmat pointed out that the number of hepatitis C patients in Egypt has reached eight million; with only an estimated five percent who know they are infected. Therefore, he ruled out the possibility of hepatology medical centers getting overcrowded with patients.

He had also pointed out that the national committee set a plan that aims to treat 250,000 patients a year at LE 10,000 cost for each having the cost divided between the Health Ministry and the patients; one third of the cost for each. The national committee suggested launching a voluntary fund to cover the remaining one third, he added.

The hepatology doctor also explained that the new drug, with a cure rate exceeding 90 percent, will contribute to saving a great amount of money. The ordinary Hepatitis C cure costs about LE 12,000 over 48 weeks and its cure rate reaches up to 55 percent, whereas the new cure costs LE 96,000 throughout 12-week recovery sessions. 

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