Oncology experts hail moves to manufacture cancer treatments locally
Oncology professors participating in last month’s 14th International Conference of the Department of Oncology and Nuclear Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, praised the steps taken by some Egyptian pharmaceutical companies to localize oncology drug manufacturing within the country.
Dr. Samir Shehata, professor of oncology at the Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, commented: “We encourage all Egyptian companies to enter the field of manufacturing oncology drugs, to provide medicine in a sustainable way and at low prices.”
He added, in his statements on the sidelines of the conference, that presidential campaigns and initiatives have led to a decrease in death rates among oncology patients, but this decrease requires continuity in the provision of treatments, which represents a great burden on the state.
Dr. Ibtisam Saad El-Din, professor of oncology at the Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, said that the production of oncology drugs within Egyptian factories will create a perpetual supply at an affordable price. She explained that such drugs are used in the treatment of many tumors. This includes advanced breast cancer, especially the hormone-positive type, which represents about 75% of breast cancer cases among women.
She pointed out that the treatments are manufactured inside Egypt by an Egyptian company with the same efficiency and at a lower cost than imported medicine.
Dr. Mohamed Abdel Moaty, professor of oncology and hematology at the National Institute of Cancer at Cairo University, said that multiple myeloma a rare form of cancer, representing 2% of tumors in general and 10% of tumors of the blood. It is treated via a number of directed and immune drugs.
He explained that there are 160,000 cases of multiple myeloma worldwide, with an incidence rate of 1 per 100,000 people. In Egypt, 800 cases are diagnosed annually, at approximately the same rate as the global level, and the accumulated cases number about 1,700.
Dr. Raafat Abdel-Fattah, professor of hematology and bone marrow transplantation at the National Institute of Cancer at Cairo University, said that Egypt manufactures around 90% of the medicines it needs. In the field of tumors and malignant blood diseases, the country imports about 95% of its drug needs, he added, so localizing the manufacture of oncology drugs and medicines for malignant blood diseases is a breakthrough in the treatment of these diseases.
He added that providing modern treatments such as lenalidomide in Egypt is the best option for treating blood diseases such as bone marrow cancer or multiple myeloma.
Dr. Hisham Tawfik, professor of oncology at the Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, said that the localization of the pharmaceutical industry to Egypt is in line with the state's sustainable development efforts and Egypt's 2030 strategy.
He added that the localization of the pharmaceutical industry to Egypt has three benefits, namely continuity in the provision of medicines, provision of medicines at low prices, and a reduction in pressure on forex reserves.
Dr. Amjad Talaat, General Manager of the Specialized Medicines Unit at EVA Pharma, said that the company is working to provide the latest medicines, in cooperation with the MARC Center for Scientific Research and with international firms. In doing so, EVA Pharma is contributing to the localization of the pharmaceutical industry to Egypt, he said.
Dr. Talaat noted that the company has recently moved towards manufacturing targeted drugs and immunosuppressants and has allocated a factory to produce these drugs, as well as oncology and blood disease medications. The facility, which operates using the latest international technology, ensures continuity in provision of these medicines to consumers in Egypt, or in other Arab or African countries, with the highest efficiency and at an appropriate price.
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