A cystic fibrosis wonder drug, that one Fermanagh mother has said is the “closest thing to a cure”, will now be available in Northern Ireland.

Geraldine Murphy explained that Orkambi, which has been available for a number of years in the Republic of Ireland, will “change the lives” of people with a certain form of cystic fibrois in Northern Ireland and said that after “four years of fighting” the feeling is “just amazing”.

Geraldine’s son, Daire, is one of 100s in Northern Ireland who will benefit from this life changing drug with other cystic fibrosis drugs, Symkevi and Kalydeco also becoming available.

The NHS has always claimed that the financial burden of the drug was prohibitive but last week NHS England struck a deal with Vertex Pharmaceuticals to bring the drug to the UK.

In a letter written by NHS England it states that Northern Ireland and Wales are also included in the deal: “Wales and Northern Ireland have stood alongside NHS England throughout these extended discussions.

“We have therefore inserted into the legal agreement that NHS England has negotiated, a requirement that the company must make equivalent terms available to the NHS in Wales and Northern Ireland, should those jurisdictions wish to benefit from them.”

In September of this year Scotland reached a separate agreement with the manufacturers of the drug,

Department of Health Permanent Secretary for Northern Ireland, Richard Pengelly confirmed this week that the drug would be made available in Northern Ireland:

“The Department is delighted to be able to confirm its plans.

“This has been a very difficult and sensitive process. For patients with Cystic Fibrosis and their families, it has been a long and frustrating road.

“In the NHS England agreement there is a commitment that Vertex must make the drugs available to Northern Ireland patients on equivalent terms.

“That removes any feasible impediment to a localised agreement with the company. Discussions are being commenced with Vertex Pharmaceuticals and, subject to that localised agreement being formally signed off, we will be able to start commissioning the drugs as a matter of urgency.”

Daire Murphy is currently studying for his transfer test and his mother, Geraldine, says that campaigners here in Northern Ireland are just over the moon with the news that the drug is coming to Northern Ireland.

“It is just fantastic news, the absolute best news we could get. This is an amazing precision drug which is the closest thing to a cure. Children and young adults with a double copy of the DF508 gene will benefit from this drug.

“It will change their lives. Currently 60 children in the Royal Belfast hospital need this. Young adults in the City Hospital aged 18 and over also need this drug. We are delighted that after a four year battle it has finally been given the green light.”

Deirdre also paid tribute to Liam McHugh from Castlederg, who has been leading the fight to ensure that these much needed drugs became available to people in Northern Ireland.

“Liam has been fantastic throughout this journey. He has done absolutely everything that he could to make sure this happened, and he has been a huge support to us all.”