Life-saving drug for cystic fibrosis patients to be placed on government formulary

In video-call with activist and cystic fibrosis sufferer Mandy Vella, prime minister announced expensive drug will be placed on NHS formulary

Mandy Vella, right, in conversation with Robert Abela
Mandy Vella, right, in conversation with Robert Abela

The government will put a life-saving drug for cystic fibrosis patients on the government formulary.

The news was announced by Prime Minister Robert Abela in a livestreamed video-call with cystic fibrosis patient and activist Mandy Vella, 26, who since 2018 has been petitioning for the expensive drug to be provided to sufferers like her.

She had been hospitalised with a chest infection over a complication she has previously said could have been prevented if she had access to the pioneering life-saving drug Trikafta.

The drug is used to treat the cells of cystic fibrosis patients and give more strength to their lungs. While it has been a global breakthrough for those with the disease, it comes with a hefty price tag, costing tens of thousands a month for each patient. “I’ve been insisting with authorities from 2018, that when it gets approved by the EU, Malta works to procure it,” Vella had said.

Cystic fibrosis is a rare, hereditary disease that attacks the lungs and affects around 20 people in Malta. Patients with the disease tend to live shorter lives.

Vella’s father, Edwin Vella, has also spoken out about his daughter’s declining condition. “Her lungs are deteriorating and deteriorating fast. She needs that new medication. How much longer can we wait?” he wrote online.