€50m extra funding for new medicines will save lives – Doherty

-   Regina Doherty

Lives will be saved across the country with €50m extra secured for new medicines in Budget 2021, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Regina Doherty, Leader of Seanad Éireann said, “This additional funding for new medicines is essential and ultimately, will save lives in Ireland.

“Access to new drugs, at an earlier stage in someone’s battle with a disease, can and does have a life-changing impact, and in many cases, a life-prolonging one also.

“One example of how important this funding is can be seen in the recent advances of the non-small cell lung cancer drug, Osimertinib, (Tagrisso).

“Osimertinib’s availability in Ireland was expanded this month to treat this form of lung cancer at an earlier stage. As such, it is estimated that annually, 150 patients here will be eligible to commence treatment before the disease has progressed further, providing an incredible lifeline to so many families.

“The €50m funding will support the introduction of a significant number of new medicines in 2021, including cancer drugs, which are already approved or in the approval pipeline.

“This increased funding provides hope to so many families here, that if and when appropriate drugs are developed, the funding and State supports will be in place to allow their loved one live longer and healthier lives with slower disease progression and greater chances of survival.”

“The funding announced has the potential to help tens of thousands of patients with serious diseases including breast, prostate and lung cancer, as well as leukaemia, Parkinson’s, melanoma and others.

“There is incredible work being done on these diseases, lots of it happening here in Ireland, and this funding should be the start of a new relationship between State and industry, working together to deliver new medicines for those who most need them in the years ahead,” Senator Doherty concluded.

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