Taoiseach behind the curve on Orkambi discussions – Mac Sharry

Published on: 22 February 2017

Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry has slammed Taoiseach Enda Kenny for being completely behind the curve on the negotiations between the makers of the life-changing CF drug Orkambi and the HSE’s drugs committee.

It’s been more than 3 weeks since Vertex were told that that the Drugs Committee had completed its considerations and that the recommendations were being sent to the HSE directorate.

Deputy Mac Sharry commented, “The Government’s handling of this extremely serious issue has been haphazard and chaotic to say the least.  I have been raising this issue since October 2015 and more than 18 months later we are still waiting on a decision on this life saving drug.  I have been liaising with Vertex about progressing the rollout of Orkambi for CF sufferers but the Government appears to be stalling on the issue.

“The Taoiseach also appears to be completely out of the loop – when I asked him about the timeline for a decision on Orkambi he continued to reference the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics and appeared unaware that the process has now moved on to the HSE’s Drugs Committee.  This is despite the fact that the Health Minister Simon Harris confirmed this development more than a fortnight ago.

“It’s now over three weeks since the Committee met and we are still waiting on a decision.  Why is the Government intent on dragging its feet on this life changing issue?  There are around 1,200 CF sufferers whose lives would be greatly improved if the Government made this drug available to them.  The offer from Vertex is reasonable and should be approved without delay.

“I am urging the Taoiseach and the Minister to stop stalling on this important issue.  This movement has gained unprecedented momentum over the past 18 months and it is time for the Government to wake up to the seriousness of the issue and ensure that this drug is approved without delay”.

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