Fianna Fáil Leader, Micheál Martin has said that the agreement reached in principle between the Department of Health and Virtex, the manufacturers of Orkambi, is great news for the hundreds of patients, and their families, who have campaigned for years to get access to this life-saving drug.
“Today’s announcement is testament to the hard work of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, and those living with the disease.
“Despite many setbacks over the past number of years, they never stopped fighting, they never gave up hope, and finally they have the decision they have dreamed of.
“Providing Orkambi to those living with CF will dramatically improve their quality of life. I’ve met many of those who have campaigned on this issue.
“They have been unequivocal in their belief that they deserve the chance to benefit from this drug. While it won’t work for every single patient, it will work for many, and give them a much better life.
“The news that the drug will be made available from next month is equally very important. There are many patients who have seen their health decline while waiting for this agreement. They need to start treatment as soon as possible.
“I am heartened that the HSE and Virtex have concluded agreements on the future use of other similar type treatments which may be used to treat different cohorts of patients.
“Providing access to Orkambi, and to other high-tech drugs, should 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 in terms of bulk buying in conjunction with other EU member states,” concluded Martin.