Duffy welcomes HSCB opening discussions on availability of Orkambi

Sinn Féin spokesperson for health Sandra Duffy  has welcomed news from the department of health that efforts are being made toward making Orkambi available to Cystic Fibrosis sufferers in the north of Ireland.

Having pushed the department for action on Orkambi, her party colleague Pat Sheehan received a letter from the Permanent Secretary for Health Richard Pengelly explaining that the department have instructed the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) to open discussions with Vertex Parmaceuticals – the makers of Orkambi.

Clr Sandra Duffy said, “The island of Ireland has the highest proportion of people suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF) in the world.

“Orkambi has been proven to significantly slow the rate of decline of lung function, which is the most common cause of death for CF patients. 

“Unfortunately, while Orkambi has been made available to eligible CF patients in the south it is not yet available to those patients in the north of Ireland.

“Discussion between Vertex and the British Government have to date failed to reach an outcome but there has been progress in making Orkambi available to CF patients in Scotland.

“I welcome the news that DoH has instructed the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) here to open discussions with Vertex Pharmaceuticals to explore the potential of obtaining arrangements similar to those in Scotland.

“I would encourage Vertex Pharmaceuticals and the HSCB to enter these discussions in good faith and emphasise the need for the health and well being of Cystic Fibrosis patients here to be the primary consideration.”