Monday 24 July 2017

Deal reached to supply ground breaking Orkambi drug to CF patients

Health Minister Simon Harris said the Orkambi drug would be the most expensive medicine bought by the State (Stock photo)
Health Minister Simon Harris said the Orkambi drug would be the most expensive medicine bought by the State (Stock photo)

Eilish O’ Regan

A deal has been reached "in principle" on a price for the cystic fibrosis drugs Orkambi and Kalydeco, Health Minister Simon Harris announced today.

It means the ground breaking drug could be available to people with cystic fibrosis from May 1.

Around 550 people with cystic fibrosis have been campaigning for the availability of the drug Orkambi but the original price demanded by Vertex, the makers of the drug, was too high.

They have also been demanding that the drug Kalydeco be made available to around 40 younger patients , aged two to five years.

Speaking in the Dail the minister said:” I wish to provide this update to the House today to offer reassurance to patients on this important matter and to inform them that the HSE and Vertex expect the medicines to be available from the  May 1.”

He said the HSE and Vertex are working to finalise the contractual arrangements and complete approval processes in advance of that date.

“I want to recognise the work the HSE has put into these negotiations over a long period and I thank them for that.  

“ want to also especially acknowledge that this has been an extraordinarily difficult time for CF patients, their families and friends as they have been waiting for this process to conclude.”

Cystic Fibrosis Ireland (CFI) warmly welcome the joint statement from the Minister for Health and Vertex that an agreement has been reached.

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