House debates

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Questions without Notice

Cystic Fibrosis

2:16 pm

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health) Share this | Hansard source

I want to thank the member for Mayo for this question. She's been very sincere and longstanding in her advocacy for patients with cystic fibrosis, in particular for the listing of Orkambi. This is something which has been done across this chamber. I know that, amongst many others, the members for Moreton and Lilley have also made representations, but it's not confined to them. On this side of the chamber, I've had representations from the member for Boothby, the member for Higgins and the member for Forrest in particular, who has been a very strong advocate for young Connor in her electorate. What you say in terms of Will and what she says in terms of Connor and many others is sincerely held.

I'm really delighted that last Friday the PBAC announced that, after three previous assessments, on this occasion they had recommended the listing of Orkambi for cystic fibrosis patients. This is a medicine which will be listed for all patients aged six and above. There had been some speculation that, if it were to be successful, it would only be for those aged 12 and above. It is in fact for six and above.

We will move now as quickly as possible. I have already asked the department to begin discussions and to work on the listing process with the company, and indeed I have spoken with the company myself. We did that within the first day of the announcement of the PBAC. As a guide, I would indicate that last year we listed the drug Kalydeco. Kalydeco is another cystic fibrosis drug by the same company which involves treating beautiful young children. That was recommended, I believe, in January, it was announced in February and it was delivered in May. I think that provides a good guide, although we will try to do it at a faster pace, and we've already had a very strong and positive response from the company.

Cystic fibrosis is a horrific condition. It can shorten the lives of so many patients. It's a nightmare diagnosis for any parent and any young child. And so, to all of those parents who have advocated: I thank them for that. To all of the members in this House who have advocated: I thank them for that. Along with other medicines such as Kisqali, for breast cancer, and Spinraza, for SMA, and what we've done with Kalydeco, we will move heaven and earth to do this as quickly as possible, because I want this medicine to be in the hands of patients at the earliest possible time.


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