Fianna Fáil Local Area Representative in Dublin South Central, Daithí de Róiste, has welcomed reports that the Minister for Health James Reilly has reconsidered the decision of the National Centre for Pharmaeconomics (NCPE) not to make available the drug ‘Pirfenidone’ to sufferers of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).
Officials who have examined whether the drug should be made available for reimbursement under the medical card schemes are understood to have recommended approval to HSE director designate Tony O’Brien, who will shortly submit this decision to the Minister for approval.
“This is a most welcome move by the Minister and will go some way to relieving the huge burden of stress and anxiety that patients were under since the original decision was taken by the NCPE. The NCPE has caused huge distress to patients and families of those suffering from IPF,” said Mr De Róiste.
“Pirfenidone gives patients a fighting chance in limiting IPF until they can avail of a transplant. The news that the only drug treatment option available to those facing a debilitating illness was to be withheld on financial grounds was simply devastating and I am delighted for all these families that can rest easy later upon hearing this news.”
IPF is a rare, chronic, progressive and debilitating disease which involves the development of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the lungs. Pirfenidone slows down the progression of IPF in patients with mild to moderate disease. The development of Pirfenidone is recognised as a major advancement for the treatment of IPF and was welcomed by healthcare professionals and patients world-wide.
“I am glad the Minister and his advisers have seen sense. Over 70 patients are affected with this illness and their lives will be dramatically improved because of this,” concluded Mr De Róiste.