SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has welcomed the approval of a life-extending ovarian cancer drug.
Implementing recommendations from NICE, the Department of Health has made Niraparib available in Northern Ireland for the first time, finally bringing them in line with the rest of the UK.
The Foyle MLA said: “For many years the SDLP have stood shoulder to shoulder with sufferers of cancer and other conditions fighting for fair access to vital medication- for parity with elsewhere in the UK.
“Access to cancer drugs such as Niraparib should not be based on cost but rather on patient need.
“I am hopeful this medication can help ease the suffering and improve the lives of many people here, including providing their loved ones with comfort in the knowledge that they are being treated with the most suitable drug for their needs.
“Whilst today’s announcement is welcome, it is long overdue. Today we think of all those who campaigned for this civil right and those who would have benefited from it but sadly were not given that chance.
“Frustratingly, access to Niraparib and other critical drugs have been delayed in the absence of a Health Minister and a functioning Assembly.
“As too has the urgent need for the implementation of a cancer strategy.
“These are the issues we need to get serious on, these are the reasons we need our Executive back up and running.
“People suffering from cancer cannot afford to wait- the people of Northern Ireland deserve better than to be treated as second class citizens where health is concerned,” added Mr Durkan.