Labour's Health spokesperson Alan Kelly has called for a cancer drug currently available to the 221 women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy to be made available to all cancer patients who require it.

Mr Kelly said the drug Pembrolizumab has had a "hugely significant" effect on Vicky Phelan's cancer and had given her a better quality of life.

Mr Kelly said the drug, which is currently off licence, is made in Clonmel. He said it was a cost-effective drug, as a test could show whether the patient would benefit or not.

He said while the cabinet had made the right decision to approve access for the 221 affected women, he questioned whether it was legal to deny it to other patients who need it.

During Topical Questions in the Dáil, Minister of State Catherine Byrne said the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) makes recommendations to the HSE on drug reimbursement. 

She said the drug is currently reimbursed for four cancers, and it is being assessed for two other cancers. 

Ms Byrne said she would speak to Health Minister Simon Harris personally on the issue, and she said she believed in doing everything possible for those struggling with cancer.