A revolutionary drug which greatly benefits cystic fibrosis sufferers has been approved for use in Ireland from March 1.
The drug Kalydeco can greatly benefit sufferers who possess a particular mutation of cystic fibrosis known as the ‘celtic gene.'
Around 120 CF patients in Ireland are set to benefit from the drug, which will cost the state in excess of €20m per annum.
An assessment by the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) in January 2013 confirmed the benefits of the drug included significant improvements in lung function, increased body weight, improvement in patients’ quality of life and a 55 percent reduction in pulmonary exacerbations.
Minister for Health James Reilly said the terms of the deal with with Kalydeco's manufacturer, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, will remain confidential, reports RTE.
He said: “I had a phone call with the Taoiseach this morning to discuss this, I also discussed it with (Minister of State) Kathleen Lynch and we are absolutely clear that this drug must be made available to the 120 people who have that genome type and can benefit from it."
The CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland Chief Executive Phillip Watt welcomed the announcement.
He described it as a "very important day in the history of CF care in Ireland."
Ireland has the highest proportion of people with CF in the world. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland about 50 new cases of cystic fibrosis are diagnosed each year.