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Taoiseach and Minister must work quickly to make Orkambi available to prevent further suffering – Ó Laoghaire

24 March, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has reiterated the calls of his party colleagues on both the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister for Health Simon Harris to work speedily on the gaining of accessibility of the cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi.

The Cork South-Central TD raised the issue directly with the Taoiseach on the floor of the Dáil on Wednesday afternoon last.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said:

“I have a specific question on the programme for Government commitment to tackling the current challenges in health. Cystic fibrosis is one such challenge. With 1,200 people in Ireland suffering from the condition, we have one of the highest rates of cystic fibrosis in the developed world.

“Will the Taoiseach update the House on the current status of negotiations with Vertex on the availability of Orkambi and the extension of specialist therapies?

The Taoiseach responded by stating that he expected discussions between Simon Harris and companies involved in its manufacture would conclude in a matter of weeks.

Afterwards, Deputy Ó Laoghaire stated:

“As I had said in the chamber, there are 1,200 people throughout the state that would expect to see significant health benefits on the back of Orkambi being commercially available.

“The plight these people face on a day to day basis is unimaginable, and this should not be the case when such a drug is known that would impact on their lives in an extremely positive way.

“The Taoiseach has been saying negotiations would be concluded within a matter of weeks, for months now. I hope it is actually imminent.  

“The need for sufferers of Cystic Fibrosis to have access to Orkambi has trundled on for quite some months now, and both the Taoiseach and Minister Harris should work with a matter of urgency, allowing patients to have an increased standard of living.  

“This should be a top priority on both their parts.” 

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