NHS England has today announced it has secured a definitive agreement with Vertex Pharmaceuticals to make available all three of their United Kingdom-licensed cystic fibrosis medicines.
This means NHS patients will now have full access to Orkambi, Symkevi and Kalydeco, and around 5000 people may now take up these treatments. There is no cap on patient numbers, and each and every patient in England who might benefit can now get these treatments, free on the NHS. Clinicians will be able to begin prescribing these drugs within 30 days.
NHS England has been able to finalise this negotiation because the company agreed confidential commercial terms that constitute good value for British taxpayers and agreed to submit its drugs for full NICE appraisal.
The agreement provides access to all three drugs for all current licensed indications, as well as future licence extensions too. The United Kingdom has the second highest prevalence of cystic fibrosis of any country in the world, so today is an important and long hoped for moment for children and adults living with cystic fibrosis. I know this drug will benefit many across Tamworth and I am really pleased that all who wrote in to me to keep lobbying the NHS and Department of Health on this issue will be pleased with this new outcome.
It is always important that the NHS strikes the right balance between providing value for money and ensuring people have access to new medicines. The new deal strikes this balance well, the hard work of the NHS negotiating with the supplier confirms why we should be so proud of our NHS.
I would be pleased to hear from any local people prescribed the drug, how it is working for you.