Improving Access to Hepatitis Treatment

Partnership objectives

  1. Increase access to Hepatitis C treatment and products for diagnosis and monitoring in Egypt.
  2. Help maximise medical services and patient care.

Educational material on Hepatitis, covering cause, symptoms, testing and treatment. Educational material on Hepatitis, covering cause, symptoms, testing and treatment. Copyright Roche

What are the health needs and challenges?

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.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

In 2006 Roche 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, Roche partnered with a local manufacturer in Egypt to package and distribute the pegferon. This involved sharing manufacturing and supply chain management practices, thereby building local capabilities and expertise and generating local employment.

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

Summary of impact and forward looking information

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 Roche’s relationship with the Ministry of Health, and with both public and medical societies.

Partnership information

Company(ies) Roche

Partner(s) Egyptian Liver Research Insitute and Hospital, Egyptian Ministry of Health

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Government

Therapeutic Focus Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Disease(s) Hepatitis

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Differential Pricing, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach

Targeted Population(s) Men, Mothers, Patients in needs of treatment, People with low income, Women

Region(s) Middle East & North Africa

Number of Countries 1

Country(ies) Egypt

Start Date 2007

More information Roche Access to Healthcare

Anticipated completion date Ongoing