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Pembro needs to be made available ASAP

3 December 2018

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Spokesperson on Health

Labour Party Health spokesperson Alan Kelly TD has said the drug Pembro needs to be available to Cervical Cancer patients sooner rather than later.

Deputy Kelly said:

“I welcome moves by Health Minister Simon Harris to put measures in place to extend the drug Pembro to all Cervical Cancer patients whose clinicians want them to receive it following calls from Vicky Phelan, Áine Morgan and myself last week.

“I have raised this issue in the Dáil and Health Committee continuously over the last month. TDs and Senators will have the opportunity to hear from patients and clinicians in an information briefing I am hosting this Wednesday in Leinster House.

“However, women and their families who are waiting on this drug need to know sooner rather than later when the State will be making this drug available to them as unfortunately for many women time is not on their side.

“Currently many women who are on the drug Pembro are fundraising to be available to afford this treatment, which can often be quite dehumanising.

“There is a clear inequity of access that women at the centre of the cervical cancer scandal are receiving this treatment paid for by the State but other cancer patients do not. It is morally right that the State as a gesture of good will is paying for this drug but there needs to be equity of access. 

“I am glad that the Minister for Health has seen sense on this issue, it is not morally right that the State would fund Pembro for one group of women and offer them a better quality of life and comfort through this disease but not provide this same chance to another group of women.

 “The legal, medical and moral argument made by women like Vicky and Áine and by leading oncologists Professor Fennelly and Crown for all women suffering from cervical cancer who are eligible to receive it to have it paid for by the State is too hard to ignore, I will continue to campaign for women to receive this treatment.”