Wales

Cystic fibrosis drug will be available to patients in Wales

Rebecka and Sofia Image copyright Rebecka Bow
Image caption Rebecka Bow had said her daughter Sofia did not have time to wait for a decision

Life-changing drugs for people with cystic fibrosis will be available in Wales after an agreement was reached.

Orkambi helps lung function for people who have the genetic lung disease, for which there is no cure.

It is already available in Scotland, while NHS England did a deal last month to provide the drug and two others.

The Welsh Government was criticised for not agreeing the same terms, but has now done a deal that will help 270 people with the condition.

Health minister Vaughan Gething said after a "short but very intensive period of work" an agreement in principle had been reached to provide three drugs.

Patients will have access to Orkambi and Symkevi, as well as continual use of a third, Kalydeco.

"I am very aware that patients and their families will expect these medicines to be made available promptly," Mr Gething said.

"I have therefore asked for the agreement to be finalised before the end of November to allow the highest priority patients to access treatment in December."

All patients should then have access from 2020.

Image copyright Rebecka Bow
Image caption Sofia, eight, will be helped by the decision

Rebecka Bow from Merthyr Tydfil, whose daughter Sofia has cystic fibrosis had criticised the wait for a decision, saying people with the condition did not have time.

Following Wednesday's announcement, she said she was "relieved and elated".

"This is going to save children's lives," Mrs Bow added.

"It's been a long and hard campaign for a rare condition.

"It's been heartbreaking that we knew these drugs were out there that could prevent mucus from filling children's lungs".

Ludovic Fenaux of manufacturer Vertex International called the deal "good news" for patients.

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