Martin calls for CF drug to be made available

Thu, Jan 24, 2013, 00:00

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said a life-changing drug used in the treatment of cystic fibrosis should be made available in Ireland. “In the clinical trials alone, it decreased relapses by 55 per cent in patients,” he said.

Mr Martin said a medical breakthrough that could double life expectancy should be embraced.

The emergence of the drug, Kalydeco, was regarded as the biggest breakthrough relating to cystic fibrosis since the discovery of the gene mutation involved in 1989.

“For all those involved in the treatment of cystic fibrosis, the drug is genuinely seen as a game-changer in terms of the quality of life and life expectancy of persons with the condition.”

He added that it was now available in the UK, Germany and Canada.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the HSE had received an application for the inclusion of Kalydeco, with the generic name ivacaftor, in the General Medical Service and community drug schemes. It was being considered under agreed procedures with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association.

Mr Kenny said the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics conducted a health technology assessment providing detailed information on the potential budget impact of the medicine. The price quoted by the company, €234,000 per patient per year, was very costly.