September 20, 2019

‘Show more leadership’ – Kilkenny TD urges Minister to make life-saving drug available to Kilkenny man

KILKENNY TD Kathleen Funchion has urged Health Minister Simon Harris to “show a lot more leadership” and order the Health Service Executive (HSE) to make a life-saving drug available to a seriously ill Kilkenny man.

John Holmes recently received his tenth infusion of the drug Pembrolizumab (Pembro) at a cost of more than €50,000.

So far John’s massive medical bill has been paid for privately through local fundraising and the efforts of the John Needs Pembro campaign.

Deputy Funchion and her fellow constituency TD John McGuinness recently raised the issue in the Dáil, although Minister Harris wasn’t present in the chamber. Instead, he was represented by Disability Minister Finian McGrath, and the Kilkenny deputies were not happy at the response they received.

Speaking on KCLR, Deputy Funchion urged Minister Harris to “step up to the plate” and make sure Pembro is made available to John Holmes.

Deputy Funchion said: “We need to see a lot more leadership from him [Minister Harris].”

She added: “The VHI have come out and said they are providing Pembro to private patients. It’s down to a lack of political will.”

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