On February 24, 2016 the pharmaceutical company «Pharco» (Egypt) presented during a press conference in Kyiv City State Administration (KCSA) information on current methods of hepatitis C treatment with the new for Ukrainian pharmaceutical market molecule — sofosbuvir.
The event was attended by Andrii Shypko, people’s deputy of Ukraine, Mohammed Kasem Al-Asaad, ambassador of Palestine in Ukraine, Mykola Povorozniuk, deputy chairman of KSCA, Vadim Shipulin, professor Department of Internal Medicine № 2 in National Bogomolets Medical University, Doctor of Medical Science, Ruslan Svitlyi, CEO of metropolitan municipal enterprise “Pharmacy” and CEO of “Euro Pharma International”, which is the holder of “Grateziano” Marketing Authorisation, Mr. Bassem М.К. Waari, Chairman of the Board of corporation «Pharco» Dr. Sherin, Amr Fahmi, Counsellor of the Embassy of Egypt in Ukraine Sherif Shyhata, Consul of Egypt Dr. Marua. Among the guests there were representatives of patient organizations, professional public organizations, scientific and medical institutions, doctors.
Mr. Bassem М.К. Waari welcomed the press conference participants. He said that «Pharco» is the largest pharmaceutical company in Egypt in terms of production volume and sales. Its socially oriented strategy aims to produce high quality, effective and safe original and generic drugs at fair prices.
Industrial holding areas are prequalified by WHO, they produced almost 800 names of drugs according to the requirements of good manufacturing practice. Products are exported to 65 countries worldwide.
Pharmaceutical company “Euro Pharma International” is the holder of the certificate of registration; “Aya Pharma” provides promotional activity and is the official importer of registered drug “Grateziano” (sofosbuvir).
Speaking of the problems of viral hepatitis, the speaker noted that the WHO has recognized hepatitis C virus as a “time bomb” because if left untreated, the disease can lead to cirrhosis or hepatic cancer, which kills about 700 thousand people every year.
The epidemic of hepatitis C is becoming more and more relevant for our country and according to experts’ estimates Ukraine ranks the 1st place in Europe on the prevalence of the disease. The majority of the infected patients are unaware of their disease, because 80% of the acute period passes asymptomatically and the disease becomes chronic that ends with cirrhosis.
Forty four thousand patients with hepatitis C who need treatment are officially registered in Ukraine. Of this number of patients only 5% receives treatment for public funds due to the high cost of drugs.
Last year, the cost of treatment with drugs containing pegylated interferon that were purchased in a limited number by Ministry of Health of Ukraine within the state program against viral hepatitis, was about 7 thousand USA dollars. Treatment lasted 12 months, and its effectiveness for the patient did not exceed 50%.
At the same time, this treatment regimen has been almost abandoned in the civilized world by beginning to use new generation drugs. By including the standard regimen of the new direct-acting antiviral drug — sofosbuvir — treatment will cost several times cheaper and will last only 3 months, and chances to be finally cured are significantly increased.
Late last year a drug product Grateziano (sofosbuvir) for combination therapy of patients with viral hepatitis was registered. It provides new opportunities for Ukraine to overcome the disease.
Currently with the support of the city government, company “Pharco” begins the action “Will win Hepatitis C together”. It provides broad information campaign to increase public awareness about the disease and its prevention, a series of educational programs for health protection professionals, public testing for the hepatitis C virus, establishing specific conditions for the implementation of the drug to Kyivans for the “Social card from Kyiv”, etc.
For health protection professionals dealing with problem of hepatitis C in Ukraine, pharmaco-economic forum on hepatitis treatment to be held in 2016 will be interesting.
CEO of the company also said that drug production is localized in Ukraine.
Summing up the performance, Mr. Bassem М.К. Waari said: “Hepatitis – is not a fatal disease. Only together we can increase the availability of current treatments of hepatitis C for Ukrainian patients. ”
Andrew Shypko welcomed the participants on behalf of the Committee of Verkhovna Rada as to Health Care. He noted that the problem of disease and treatment of hepatitis C in Ukraine does not lose relevance. This is because patients are increasing, and treatment becomes more expensive. Of course, the state should support preventive measures, but at the same time it should help to increase the availability of modern high-quality effective and safe drugs to treat this disease. “Today, the average salary in Ukraine is about 3.5 thousand UAH, and the treatment of hepatitis C – is 15 thousand UAH. Whom is this cost affordable for? Our task – is to unite the efforts of government agencies, professional community, pharm business to address hepatitis C in Ukraine by ensuring the availability on the market of modern medicines of good quality, efficiency and security at an affordable price”, – underlined the people’s deputy. He said that currently the relevant committee considered the draft law “On Medicines”. Among other things, it is proposed to simplify access to the Ukrainian market of modern drugs by the project, which requires health care sector, but currently does not have in its arsenal.
During the press conference, scientists presented information on the history of the development, clinical trials of sofosbuvir and use of this drug in current treatment regimens for hepatitis C.
After the event, the company «Pharco» handed for free the drugs for treatment of hepatitis C: sofosbuvir, interferon and ribavirin to Kyiv City State Administration and Kyiv military hospital.
Everyone present at the press conference, the company representatives offered to pass a free testing. In the case of this virus patients will be offered free courses of treatment.
Please note that by the order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine of 01.25.2016 number 41, sofosbuvir is added to the List of drugs of domestic and foreign manufacture, which can be purchased by institutions and health care facilities, fully or partially funded from state and local budgets.
In the next issue of our magazine we shall present to our readers the detailed information on the international experience of sofosbuvir application for the treatment of hepatitis C. Also in the pages of “Weekly DRUGSTORE” we shall communicate with the head of the corporation “Pharco”, who will talk about the company’s plans in an exclusive interview for our publication in Ukraine.
Olena Prikhodko, photo by Sergei Beck