Negotiations appear set to take place between the Health Service Executive and drug manufacturer Vertex concerning the price of Cystic Fibrosis drug Orkambi.

Minister for Health Simon Harris said Vertex has responded to the HSE with a view to re-engaging in negotiations.

In a short statement the HSE said it wishes the negotiations would recommence immediately and called on the company to set out a more realistic price for Irish patients.

The HSE also called on Vertex to make it clear to the public the price it intends to charge and to stop hiding behind commercial confidentiality clauses.

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

The announcement comes after hundreds of people took part in a protest at Leinster House demanding access to the drug.

Among them were many people who suffer from CF and their family members. There were also family members of CF patients who have died with the disease.

The crowd heard campaigner Jillian McNulty talk about how Orkambi has improved her life, and the need for the Government to make it available.

Demonstrators chanted they wanted Orkambi for Christmas, and called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to come out and meet them.

Mr Kenny was not there but numerous Opposition politicians were, and the crowd was also addressed by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams. 

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