Health minister says cystic fibrosis drug price negotiations ‘a priority’

New drug Orkambi costs €158,000 per patient each year

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Simon Harris speaking to the media at Government Buildings | Image:

The Minister for Health Simon Harris has moved to re-assure cystic fibrosis patients that they may still get access to a new drug - Orkambi.

Yesterday the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics ruled that €158,000 per year per patient for Orkambi was too expensive.

The Clinical Director of the organisation said the manufacturer got the price wrong.

Tánaiste Francis Fitzgerald was critical of the attitude of some drugs companies: “It’s very important, indeed critical, that drug companies do not hold countries or patients to ransom in terms of pricing.”

Simon Harris moved to re-assure CF patients the drug may yet be available to them.

“This process is far from finished, there is significant work to do to negotiate on price and I want those negotiations to continue as a priority,” the health minister said.

He also confirmed that patients on a trial of the drug will continue to receive it while negotiations are ongoing.