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Breakthrough Cystic Fibrosis Medicine Will Cost Malta €3 Million A Year, Robert Abela Reveals

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Potentially life-saving medicine for Malta’s cystic fibrosis patients will cost the government around €3 million a year, Prime Minister Robert Abela revealed.

Answering questions during a press conference yesterday, Abela said the decision to introduce the pioneering drug Trikafta to the government’s formulary list was made because his government “cares about the hardships of people”.

“If it was calculated in any other way, we probably wouldn’t have said yes to these pleas,” Abela said.

The Prime Minister’s announcement comes after an emotional public campaign by 26-year-old patient Mandy Vella, who has been lobbying for the breakthrough medicine since it was approved in August 2020.

Cystic fibrosis is a progressive condition that affects the cells that produce mucus, causing it to build up in the lungs and pancreas.

Treatment using Trikafta, also known as Kaftrio, comes at a cost of over €10,000 per patient per month. It is however the only know treatment for the rare illness.

“When you have a young person like Mandy Vella, who came to me in November to discuss her story on behalf of other cystic fibrosis patients, I really wish I could have said yes there and then, but I had to consult the health authorities and Finance Minister before,” Abela explained.

“I’m a father like Mandy’s father. When I spoke to her in our video call, how could I be indifferent to her? How could we close our eyes to her suffering? This is why we took the decision we did, to make a difference in her quality of life. This is what defines us as a government,” Abela said.

Richard Hunter, a 37-year-old cystic fibrosis sufferer, has spoken with Lovin Malta about how his life has changed since taking the drug last September.

“I look at my life as pre-Kaftrio and post-Kaftrio,” he told Lovin Malta.

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Sam is an over-caffeinated artist fighting for a cooler and freer world, one article, song or impromptu protest at a time. Hit her up with thought-provoking ideas or dreams at [email protected] or @princess.wonderful on Instagram.

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