A multi-million pound deal has been signed to make Kaftrio available in Northern Ireland for the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
The deal – announced by Health Minister Robin Swann – was secured with Vertex Pharmaceuticals which will see treatment being provided to all eligible patients in Northern Ireland.
Minister Swann said: “Following intensive negotiations to get the right deal, I can now announce that Kaftrio will be available in the coming weeks for cystic fibrosis patients in Northern Ireland.
“This has been a long road for those who are suffering and I am delighted to bring this positive news to them.”
In November 2019 the Department of Health agreed a deal with Vertex Pharmaceuticals to make Orkambi and Symkevi available. This was on top of the previously commissioned Kalydeco.
The Minister thanked all those involved in bringing the deal to fruition.
He added: “Families have fought long and hard to deliver the best possible outcome for their loved ones and I am sincerely thankful today that I can make this announcement. Whilst this is not a cure for cystic fibrosis, I do hope Kaftrio will help ease the symptoms of this crippling condition and give sufferers a better quality of life.”
Newry and Armagh Alliance representative Jackie Coade called the drug “life changing” which will give a lot of people a chance at a long life.
“This announcement is a very welcome development for those who suffer from Cystic Fibrosis and their families,” said Ms Coade.
“It is very difficult to watch someone you love fall victim to this illness. I know a lot of people, including myself have fought long and hard for new and improved treatments to be made available in Northern Ireland.”
Ms Coade, who has a daughter who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, has indicated that all those who suffer from this disease should qualify for treatment.
“It is important that we ensure that all those who suffer from Cystic Fibrosis qualify for this drug. This drug has the potential to save many lives and we can not leave anyone behind,” she added.
“Everyone deserves an equal chance at a better life and we must ensure that anyone who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis has the option to obtain this life saving treatment.”