Prime Minister Robert Abela has promised 26-year-old cystic fibrosis sufferer Mandy Vella that Kaftrio, a crucial medicine to treat her condition will soon be made available.
Abela called up Vella directly this afternoon to inform her of the good news.
“I can’t forget what you told me when we met [last November] about how much you need this medication. I remember our discussion and you also spoke on behalf of other people with cystic fibrosis.”
“I have some good news for you. Although some time has passed since our meeting, we’ve been working non-stop because it’s a complex situation, and I can now inform you that we’ve decided to include this medicine you need in our formulary list and start providing it.”
“I’ve spoken to the Health Minister and Finance Minister and funds will be allocated. I’ve given direction for the procurement process to start immediately. It won’t happen overnight but we’ll hurry up as much as possible. I’m a father too and I could see how concerned your mother was when we spoke.”
An emotional Vella thanked the Prime Minister on behalf of cystic fibrosis sufferers, urging him to speed up the process as much as possible.
“Don’t worry Mandy, it’s the least we can do and it’s our obligation,” Abela responded.
“Have courage, because we won’t leave you alone. You have my word that the medicine will be provided. I’ll maintain direct contact with you with regards to the date the medicine will be available.”
Mandy Vella, 26, was born with cystic fibrosis, a rare, hereditary disease that attacks the lungs and affects around 25 people in Malta.
Cystic fibrosis impacts the cells which produce mucus, causing them to become thick and sticky and resulting in them blocking up tubes, ducts and passageways, particularly in the lungs and pancreas.
It’s a progressive illness that requires daily treatment to constantly remove mucus from the body.
However, hope for cystic fibrosis sufferers recently emerged through the drug Kaftrio (also known as Trikafta), which was approved for use by the European Medicines Agency last August.
In recent days, Vella has gone public about her struggles with the condition.
“The way people react to COVID-19 is how people with cystic fibrosis live on a daily basis,” she told Lovin Malta. “Using a tissue to open a door is normal for me and I wear a mask when going to hospital to avoid viruses.”
She described the condition as “self-contradictory” as it requires regular physiotherapy but also exhausts her to the point where she cannot exercise.
“Walking is important but right now I barely feel as though I can walk to my car,” she said.
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