The Department of Health in Northern Ireland announced that it intends to make the cystic fibrosis drugs Orkambi (lumacaftor/ivacaftor), Symkevi (tezacaftor/ivacaftor) and Kalydeco (ivacaftor) available to eligible patients in Northern Ireland.
The announcement came after the NHS England and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, manufacturer of these drugs, reached a pricing agreement last week. Under the agreement, Vertex Pharmaceuticals is required to offer an equivalent pricing agreement for Northern Ireland and Wales, thereby eliminating any impediment to a localised agreement.
The next step would be following the decisions of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence on the commissioning of new drugs. Commissioning of the three drugs this year and in the future would be in accordance with the existing policy.
Expressing delight at the Department of Health's plans to introduce the drugs in Northern Ireland, the Permanent Secretary, Richard Pengelly said: "This has been a very difficult and sensitive process. For patients with Cystic Fibrosis and their families, it has been a long and frustrating road."