Minister for Health Simon Harris has said he wants to make the drug Orkambi available to Irish cystic fibrosis patients and that negotiations with manufacturer Vertex are not finished.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, he said he will leave no stone unturned as he collaborates with every other possible country and other health ministers to make the drug available.

The Health Service Executive last weekend said it was disappointed with the level of meaningful engagement with the manufacturer in lowering its price for cystic fibrosis patients.

The HSE and Vertex Pharmaceuticals entered price negotiations after the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics found Orkambi was unjustifiably expensive at €159,000 per patient per year.

Mr Harris said through the HSE, Ireland has been negotiating with Vertex for six months, but with little success.

He said: "Innovation is only of use to a patient if the price is affordable so the State can access it.

"Quite frankly, I am very disappointed by the level of engagement by Vertex. I am very disappointed that after such a sustained length of time that you find yourself in a situation where the fiscal impact of this drug could be €400 million almost over a five-year period.

"I don't wish to put a price on any patient accessing a drug but there is a finite amount available to any health minister in any country."

He said other countries such as the UK, Australia and Canada have had the same problem negotiating with Vertex.

Minister Harris said that is why he has reached out to health ministers in other countries to see if they can work together.

He said he will be attending a meeting of European ministers of health next week in Lisbon where they will discuss the topic of new drugs.

The minister said there are a number of people in Ireland who are currently on Orkambi and he understands that those on the drug will continue to be able to avail of that while the negotiations are ongoing.

"This is not the end of the process. I want that to be very clear to people in CF Ireland and CF patients."