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Make Orkambi available on the NHS - Begley

19 May, 2019 - by Órfhlaith Begley

Sinn Féin MP Órfhlaith Begley has called on the British government to make Orkambi available to people with cystic fibrosis in the north. 

The West Tyrone MP said:

“I along with my Sinn Féin MPs have signed a cross-party letter that the Cystic Fibrosis Trust delivered to Theresa May on the 16th May. That date is significant as it marked one year since the British Prime Minister called for a speedy resolution to access to medicines on the NHS for those with Cystic Fibrosis.

“While this serious illness cannot be cured, Orkambi has been proven to significantly slow the rate of decline of lung function. I have been able to see the positive impact that Orkambi has had on the life of a constituent who has been able to access the drug as part of a medical trial. 

“This medical treatment is already available in the south of Ireland and many other jurisdictions. It is cruel that cystic fibrosis sufferers in the north of Ireland  do not have the same access.

“The Department of Health should follow the example of Scotland by beginning the process of making Orkambi available on the NHS through engaging with the makers of the drug, Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

"I have written to Richard Pengelly, the permanent secretary of the Department of Health, asking him to begin negotiations with Vertex Pharmaceuticals to take positive steps towards making this treatment accessible here.

“Time is of the essence, it is imperative that the British Government and the makers of Orkambi, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, reach an agreement to make Orkambi available on the NHS.”

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