The immunotherapy drug Pembro is to be made available to all women with cervical cancer if it is prescribed for them.
The drug was already available for free to women affected by the CervicalCheck scandal.
This afternoon, the Department of Health confirmed that the State will fund it for all women whose doctors feel they could benefit from it.
Women’s health campaigner Vicky Phelan, whose case brought the CervicalCheck scandal to light, has credited the drug with reducing her tumours.
This afternoon, she said she is “so delighted to get this news today.”
So delighted to get this news today. Huge thanks to Deputy @alankellylabour for his perseverance and dedication to this cause. And to @SimonHarrisTD for coming to an arrangement with the @INFO_NCPE It is a good news day for #CervicalCancerPreventionWeek https://t.co/dmICQODWmm
— Vicky Phelan (@PhelanVicky) January 23, 2019
Welcoming the news, Labour Party health spokesperson Alan Kelly said it has “been a long time coming for women with cervical cancer.”
“We had a situation where women who were at the centre of the Cervical Check Scandal were getting the Pembro treatment for free – but other women with cervical cancer were paying unaffordable amounts,” he said.
“Working with women like Vicky Phelan, Áine Morgan and Tracey Brennan, I brought the inequity of the provision of Pembro to the Minister for Health’s attention.
“I’m glad the minister has now ended the uncertainty around making the [treatment] available.
“It is timely that this announcement has been made during cervical cancer awareness week.
“While there are many steps to be taken when it comes to cervical cancer prevention and dealing with the continued fallout from the CervicalCheck scandal, making Pembro available will mean so much to many women and their families.”