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Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL16999, tabled on 8 July 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has to intervene in the ongoing negotiations between Vertex pharmaceuticals, NICE and NHS England on the price of the cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi to ensure that it is made available to patients as soon as possible.

Answered on

15 July 2019

NHS England and NHS Improvement is leading the negotiations with Vertex and has made a revised and improved offer to Vertex that would provide immediate funding for Orkambi and Symkevi in advance of a positive assessment by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), in addition to expanded access to Kalydeco which is already funded by the National Health Service for certain patients. No date has been agreed for a further meeting as of yet, however negotiations are ongoing between Vertex, NHS England and NHS Improvement and NICE.

Cystic fibrosis can have a devastating effect on the lives of those who suffer from it, and those close to them, and the Government wants to see patients access innovative treatments at a cost-effective price for the NHS. The Government fully supports NICE and NHS England in seeking to ensure access for patients to effective and innovative medicines at a price that represents value to the NHS, and it is not for Ministers to intervene in this process. The Department’s approach remains to strongly urge Vertex to accept NHS England and NHS Improvement’s generous offer, but in the absence of a deal, we have asked NHS England and NHS Improvement to continue to explore all options to ensure patients can access treatments as soon as possible.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care