Fianna Fáil Leader, and Cork South Central TD, Micheál Martin today (19th October) questioned the Taoiseach on why the Orkambi drug has not been approved for full use by the HSE by people living with Cystic Fibrosis.

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Martin said:

“Orkambi is the first drug to impact on the underlying cause of Cystic Fibrosis for up to 50% of people living with the condition in Ireland.”

“It has been shown to produce both a reduction in the worsening of CF requiring hospital admissions and a sustained increase in lung function and weight.”

“Orkambi has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the US. Is the Government still committed to giving CF patient’s access to Orkambi?

Following the debate, the Fianna Fáil Leader added:

“Many people living with Cystic Fibrosis have been waiting over two years to gain access to this life-saving drug.”

“Some who are currently using it are concerned that their access under the compassionate access scheme may be revoke. This cannot be allowed happen.”

“The Taoiseach informed me that a process is underway whereby the HSE, the pharmaceutical company and the clinicians are discussing the best way forward. This must be expedited as quickly as possible.”

“Situations such as with Orkambi, and with other high-tech drugs, need to be dealt with, and funded, via a separate fund, from the health budget,” added Martin.

“Longer term, we need to look at how we can reduce the overall cost of these types of drugs. Perhaps the HSE could look to bulk buy Orkambi with other EU country health providers to ensure price reductions, based on volume, can be obtained.”

“Whatever happens, people on Orkambi, and people who can benefit from the drug, should not lose it. Lives have been improved and saved. That’s what the HSE needs to keep top of mind when it comes to making decisions,” concluded Martin.