When deciding which medicines, treatments, services and programmes to fund, the primary aim should be to reduce uncertainty about expected outcomes.
It’s a year since cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi was made available in Ireland and so far, the reviews are mixed. While of benefit to some patients (reduced exacerbations, for example) others were unable to tolerate it. Access to Orkambi did not come easily. People took to the streets, talked to Joe and pressure was put on government to fund this “miracle” drug.
Unsurprisingly, it is now acknowledged that it was not a miracle drug after all, but rather a step towards a miracle. While this is good for cystic fibrosis patients who will need treatment in the future, it is little consolation to those who need treatment now and to those whose access to other healthcare has been delayed owing to the opportunity costs of funding Orkambi.