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Minister Harris must make all-Ireland effort in Orkambi negotiations - Louise O'Reilly TD

30 November, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on health Louise O'Reilly has called for Minister for Health Simon Harris to include his counterpart in the North, Michelle O'Neill MLA, in any group action of health Ministers to negotiate on Orkambi with the pharmaceutical company involved. 

Deputy O'Reilly said: 

“It is clear that the government, like others across Europe, are failing in their negotiations with pharmaceutical companies on drug pricing. Solo operators do not have the critical mass or bargaining power to exert sufficient pressure on these companies to make drugs available at an affordable price. We have seen this with Orkambi and other drugs, and this cannot be allowed to continue. 

“The issue of high-tech and new drugs is going to get more complex as scientific breakthroughs are made that can help save lives and extend lifespans. 

“Earlier this week, Sinn Féin launched our discussion paper on Irish unity and one of the key pillars of this is health. With ongoing all-Ireland projects, health is a key example of where collaboration and co-operation between Ministers has a benefit for people right across the island. 

"In relation to Orkambi, Minister Harris should write to his counterpart in the North Michelle O'Neill inviting her to participate in a group action of Health Ministers to maximise leverage to reduce cost considerably in a negotiation with the pharmaceutical company involved. 

“Minister Harris has repeatedly floated the idea that he would work with colleagues in other jurisdictions and now is the time to do that and I believe he must immediately start the process, including with his closest counterpart, Minister O'Neill.”

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