THE Government has sanctioned €20m to allow a new ‘wonder drug’ become available for cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.
Health Minister Dr James Reilly confirmed that Kalydeco will now become available from March 1 for an estimated 120 Irish people with CF who are deemed suitable for treatment.
It is estimated that treatment of a single patient with the new ‘wonder drug’ will cost €234,000.
He insisted the drug would transform the lives of young CF patients and he said the investment was warranted.
“I do not want to endanger the deal, but we have made provision for it in our budget. There were there were protracted negotiations (with the drug firm) and a final figure has been reached. It is a substantial figure but nonetheless, how do you value the life of a child?” he told the Irish Independent.
The drug, developed by Vertex, has been described by US magazine ‘Forbes’ as the single most important drug developed in 2012.
However, because of its high development cost, it would be virtually unaffordable for patients without a Government reimbursement scheme.
Dr Reilly described the drug and its provision in Ireland as “a major breakthrough.”
The announcement, made in Cork, was greeted with emotional scenes from CF sufferers who had been campaigning for the drug to be available here.