Upper Bann Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Cllr Savage Welcomes Okambi Discussions

Published: 4 February, 2019

Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Savage 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.

Sinn Féin have been lobbying the department for action on Orkambi. The party's Health spokesperson 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.

Cllr Savage 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.

"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."