Health Minister approves purchase of cystic fibrosis 'breakthrough drug'

Minister for Health James Reilly has announced that a new drug for cystic fibrosis is to made available by the HSE from March 1.

The drug, called Kalydeco, has been welcomed as a major breakthrough in the treatment of one form of the life threatening lung disease, but comes with a price tag of more than €200,000 for one course of treatment.

Speaking in Cork this afternoon, Minister James Reilly announced that a deal to supply the drug has now been agreed between the HSE and the manufacturers.

He said in the interest of patient care, he has authorised it to start immediately.

"It has asked me to make a policy decision on whether it should be made available or not," he said.

"And we've decided here today that this drug will be available from the first of March.

"We have provision for it within the budget - it's in the order of €20m+ a year."

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