Gilead offers Egypt new hepatitis C drug at 99 pct discount

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Gilead offers Egypt new hepatitis C drug at 99 pct discount

Post by DJKeefy » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:58 pm

Gilead Sciences, facing mounting criticism over the high price of its new hepatitis C pill Sovaldi, has offered to supply the medicine to Egypt at a 99 percent discount to the U.S. price.

While the drug will still cost $900 for a 12-week course of treatment, that is a fraction of the $84,000 charged for a course of treatment in the United States.

The high price tag in America prompted questions from U.S. lawmakers on Friday, after U.S. health insurers said they were seeking help from state health officials to foot the bill.

Gilead said it was "pleased to have finalized an agreement" for the introduction of Sovaldi in Egypt, which has the highest prevalence rate of hepatitis C in the world.

"We believe Sovaldi could have a major impact on public health in Egypt by significantly increasing the number of people who can be cured of hepatitis C," Gregg Alton, head of corporate and medical affairs at Gilead, said in an emailed statement.

Egyptian health minister Adel El-Adawi said Cairo had struck a deal with U.S.-based Gilead for the government to buy Sovaldi for $300 for a one-month box, according to a recent report on the state news agency MENA.

That would imply a cost of $900 if Sovaldi is used as part of a 12-week drug regimen, although the cost would be higher if it was used for 24 weeks, which is also an option based on different drug combinations.

El-Adawi said Gilead's offer would apply to Sovaldi supplies used in government clinics, adding that access programmes would start in the second half of 2014, following completion of registration procedures in Egypt.

Sovaldi is in the vanguard of a wave of pills which could cure the liver-destroying disease in millions of people worldwide, or even eradicate it entirely. But that will only happen if the new therapies are affordable enough to allow widespread use.

Nowhere is the problem more acute than in Egypt, which has the world's highest prevalence of the virus, following the use of poorly sterilised needles in campaigns dating back to the 1970s to stamp out the parasitic disease schistosomiasis.

Like HIV, hepatitis C (HCV) can be spread through blood, often via contaminated needles.

The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 150 million people worldwide are chronically infected, most of them in developing countries, putting them at risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Other companies such as Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie , Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck & Co are also developing oral treatment regimens for HCV that have shown dramatic results in clinical trials, while reducing the need for debilitating interferon injections.

Doctors and industry analysts believe the new drugs will transform HCV treatment - and prove hugely profitable. In the developed world, they are tipped to become major blockbusters, with consensus sales forecasts for Sovaldi alone standing at $9.1 billion in 2017, according to Thomson Reuters Pharma.

But the risk of a gulf in access between patients in the rich and poor parts of the world is causing alarm among health campaigners who warn of a potential re-run of the battle over HIV drugs in Africa more than a decade ago.

Medecins du Monde, a non-profit group that provides medical care around the world, highlighted Egypt as a country in dire need of the new hepatitis C drugs in a report this week.

Gilead has also said it plans to license Sovaldi to a number of Indian generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, which would be able to sell lower-priced copies of the medication.

Source: http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/97257.aspx


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Re: Gilead offers Egypt new hepatitis C drug at 99 pct disco

Post by Hafiz » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:33 am

Hep C in Egypt is an 'own goal'. The Government 'gave' it to their people through the botched inoculation program. The new gold plated drug might be the best in the world but it would be interesting to know what the government has done to treat its people over the past decades using older treatments.

Based on 7%-20% infection rates and assuming a single 12 week treatment it will cost between $US529 million and $US1.5 billion plus 'administration' and delivery costs. Its a lot but can improve productivity and reduce hospital costs for liver disease. Wonder who is paying, probably not the UAE which is fully committed to its giant $40 billion 'welfare' housing project helped by its friends the army. The army you will remember are fully committed to its AIDS diagnosis and treatment device which is 'close' to approval and announcement in The Lancet. Everyone has something else to do with their money.

I'm sure that the arrival of the drug, if arrive it does, will create a whole galaxy of money making opportunities and that the poor will be the loosees. Imagine the potential for international sale of a drug worth $US84,000 per treatment in the US.

The big thing missing from this story, probably because al Ahram relied on Reuters and other wire services and didn't ask the Minister the big question: who will pay for it in Egypt. Obviously the poor can't afford $900 and obviously the middle classes will want a free ride as with petrol, gas and wheat so its anyone's guess but I would bet it will be big city before the rest and the middle class before the rest.

I know from experience that Hep C carriers can be a burden because a recent AC engineer winged and wined until he told me why. He was a real burden and came up with lame excuses why he hadn't got treatment.

The last sentence of the above post is bizarre. Why would a drug company just starting to market its new drug waive its copyright to Indian generics.

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Re: Gilead offers Egypt new hepatitis C drug at 99 pct disco

Post by Mad Dilys » Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:10 am

I have lost two dear friends to this awful disease in spite of them receiving the best treatments available in Egypt.

One of the problems seems to be late diagnosis. Two of our candidates for balloon pilot training who appeared fit and well, failed their routine compulsory medical because they were found to be Hepatitis C positive. The diagnosis in one case was too late, in the other? I live in hope.

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Re: Gilead offers Egypt new hepatitis C drug at 99 pct disco

Post by Glyphdoctor » Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:53 am

Hafiz-You know, you could say that about a lot of medical treatments and surgeries in Egypt. The people are poor, yes, but $900 is a lot better than $84,000 and IS within reach of a lot of Egyptians, even if it means saving up money or borrowing it and it is a hell of a lot better than knowing that people can get the treatment in other countries at an astronomical cost that never in a million years you could ever dream to afford but you have no hope yourself. It's not out of line with the costs of other treatments for hepatitis C and other things.

You consider hepatitis C carriers to be obnoxious whingers? Well, for everyone of us who lives here in Egypt, they are friends and family, and I am sure that can be said for everyone, because it is so common. And this means a new lease at life for a lot of them. This is some of the best news I have heard in a long time.

You can peddle your cynicism here and use this as an opportunity to criticize. Well, I just think this is a reason to celebrate.

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Re: Gilead offers Egypt new hepatitis C drug at 99 pct disco

Post by Hafiz » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:50 am

$900 is in the reach of a lot of Egyptians. Really. The poorest households, if they ate or drank nothing, could treat 2 a year. Whilst the average urban (and generally smaller) household could treat 4.

I had assumed that there would be some type of future Government subsidy but did not know whether the older treatments were subsidized. Are you saying that, based previous practice, there would be no subsidy? My point about own goal is about state moral culpability as a reason for partial funding.

Obnoxious - never used that word. Reference to Egyptians on this point - not made. Generalization from one case - didn't do it. My point was a single one about a single Australian experience where I began criticizing him for slow work not for HepC. There is a big difference. My point was that he did not initially mention having HepC, that he was making lost of complaining noises about minor work and taking more time than seemed necessary, that I then quizzed him about it, that he had some type of emotional rush and told me, that he had the option of treatment and had delayed and that he knew that his job as an independent contractor and sole provider was generally at risk. If there is a point here it is that the grunting and groaning was a symptom that made me quiz and chastise him to get treatment. If I was angry with him it was that, as a young man, he had dithered and caused chaos and pain in his life for no good reason. Paying him $225 per hour I was not too tolerant at the outset of a 25 yo man grunting and groaning all the time and moving very slowly.

Cynicism? That the affordability for the rich will be greater than the poor. Isn't that true and wouldn't, in the case of a disease which affects productivity and, in particular, the productivity of manual workers, there be a case for subsidy. Illegal trade in drugs. That's not cynical it is a major industry in Egypt. Middle class welfare and subsidies in Egypt, that is not cynicism, its the chapter heading on every report prepared on Egypt in the past decades and of frequent 'Arabic' commentary in al Jazeera about people who should pay their way

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