Life-saving cystic fibrosis drug has arrived in Malta, will be distributed for free - PM

Abela had announced last March that government will put the drug on the government formulary

Malta has finally received a batch of cystic fibrosis medication, to be distributed for free among patients, the Prime Minister said on Sunday.

Speaking during a brief telephone interview on the PL-owned ONE radio, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that the cystic fibrosis medication has been successfully procured by authorities, and will be paid for by government with no added costs on the consumer side.

"Bringing this medicine to Malta fast is not easy," he said. Abela praised the Central Procurement and Supplies Unit for working to bring this medication to Malta.

Abela had announced last March that government will put a life-saving drug for cystic fibrosis patients on the government formulary.

This was put on the government's agenda after cystic fibrosis patient and activist Mandy Vella had petitions for the expensive drug to be provided to sufferers like her.

She has been advocating for the drug to be procured by Maltese authorities since 2018

Vella 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. 

Abela also referred to IVF medication, which will be provided for free by the State as of next year.

"This is another area that we have credibility in as a Government," he said.

Government won't be stubborn with post-pandemic recovery, PM pledges

During the interview, Abela elaborated on government's post-pandemic economic strategy. He said that a special fund will be set up in order to plan for any future disasters.

Referring to Opposition Leader Bernard Grech's criticism of the plan, Abela explained that the EU Recovery and Resilience plan was part of the tranche of funds negotiated by government last year.

"The Opposition said that we will fail to secure the same funds they had in 2012, yet we got more than double despite the circumstances," he said.

Abela also commented on recent labour force statistics published by Eurostat, with Malta enjoying the lowest youth unemployment rate in the EU.

"The statistics give you an indication of the situation and it is good to analyze it. But what's important to me is that behind those statistics there are people, there are businesses that could move forward."