Dublin West TD, Jack Chambers has said that no price can, or should, be put on a person’s life or quality of life, and that the HSE must finalise negotiations with Orkambi manufacturer, Vertex, as quickly as possible.

Deputy Chambers was commenting after the Minister for Health, Simon Harris announced that the HSE had reopened negotiations with Vertex focused on securing access to Orkambi for patients with CF at the best possible price for the Exchequer.

“No one is saying that we should write a blank cheque to Vertex. However, price should not be the only determinant in what drugs are licensed for use by the HSE,” he said.

“Orkambi has been shown to be life-saving and life-transforming for CF patients. Just like Kalydeco, which was approved by former Health Minister, Dr James Reilly, against the recommendation of the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics, Orkambi should be approved for suitable patients.

“Cystic Fibrosis is a debilitating and life limiting condition, which affects thousands of people across the country and the Government’s continued procrastination on a decision to provide this game changing drug is nothing short of appalling,” added the Fianna Fáil TD.

“My party has consistently pushed for the Government and the HSE to seek agreement among other countries to leverage their combined purchasing power in order to avail of the best possible price. The Government have been slow in this regard to date; however, I am pleased that Minister Harris’ has increased his interest in seeking such partnerships.

“Earlier this month over 2000 people took to the streets outside Dáil Éireann to demand Orkambi be provided. Along with my party leader, Micheál Martin, I met with many from Dublin 15 and beyond to hear first hand their concerns about what might happen to them, or their children, if they do not receive the drug.

“There was a very strong case made by CF campaigner, Jillian McNulty and many others from the Cystic Fibrosis Community, about the costs associated with Orkambi. It must be noted that when we add in the costs of drugs, and additional procedures, the cost of Orkambi becomes the most cost effective treatment, and the treatment that gives people with CF back their quality of life.

“Not only is this a cost-effective proposal, it would also free up much needed acute beds in the already pressurised health service.

“I am appealing to Minister Harris to give this drug the serious consideration it warrants and to provide this life changing medication to the people who need it.”