In our article of February 2019, we discussed the balance between the need for affordable medicines and the need for better medicine. We also reported the drug pricing dispute between the Dutch Government and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, the proprietor of ORKAMBI, the newest and most effective drug for cystic fibrosis sufferers.
News last month reports that an agreement has now been made, after years of dispute, for patients in England to have access to ORKAMBI through the NHS England. The drug was authorised over four years ago, but the price asked by Vertex was “unaffordable” according to the NHS. Confidential and commercial terms have now been agreed between Vertex and NHS England, crucially including Vertex submitting details of future drugs to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) for assessment.
The same agreement for ORKAMBI covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not Scotland, which has agreed a separate deal with Vertex, thought to be less favourable than the England deal. Nevertheless, the access of this drug to patients cannot be underestimated and access to future Vertex drugs now looks promising.
Please contact Kristina Cornish or your usual Kilburn & Strode advisor with any questions.