Challenge

Egypt has one of the highest burdens of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the world, with a 10% prevalence of chronic HCV infection among persons aged 15–59 years.

Of the 84 million people in Egypt, around 15% are infected with the hepatitis C virus and with an additional 165,000 new infections per year, this represents a major threat to public health. This leads to a high mortality from chronic liver disease, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer. Affordability of treatment is a significant problem. Due to budget constraints, the Egyptian government was unable to treat all patients with pegylated interferon, Roche’s primary treatment for HCV.

What we’re doing

In 2006, we started working with the Egyptian government to establish a national project for treating chronic hepatitis C. Part of the project included packaging Pegasys locally in a different form (vial vs. a pre-filled syringe) and under a different trade name (Pegferon vs. Pegasys). This allowed for the introduction of differential pricing within Egypt, with Pegferon available at a significantly reduced price to the government, compared to the form sold in the private sector under the Pegasys brand.

In addition, we partnered with a local manufacturer in Egypt to package and distribute Pegferon. This involved sharing manufacturing and supply chain management practices, thereby building local capabilities and expertise and generating local employment.

We also offer products for diagnosis and treatment monitoring along with awareness programs, helping to maximise medical service and patient benefit.

Our impact

Since the project launched in 2006, more than 160,000 patients have been treated with Pegferon who otherwise may not have received treatment. Additionally, this helped strengthen our relationship with the Ministry of Health, and with both public and medical societies.

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Last updated March 2018

Tags: Patients, Access to healthcare