Cystic Fibrosis: Drugs

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 14th June 2018.

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Photo of Ian Austin Ian Austin Labour, Dudley North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has discussed with NHS England the frequency of its meetings with Vertex Pharmaceuticals in respect of providing access to medicines for cystic fibrosis.

Photo of Ian Austin Ian Austin Labour, Dudley North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to encourage NHS England to pursue innovative commercial arrangements for medicines for (a) cystic fibrosis and (b) other rare diseases.

Photo of Ian Austin Ian Austin Labour, Dudley North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with NHS England on the degree of flexibility that it has in its commercial discussions with manufacturers of medicines for cystic fibrosis and other rare diseases.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

NHS England is fully able to agree flexible, commercial arrangements to make medicines for cystic fibrosis and other rare diseases available on the National Health Service, provided the manufacturer is willing to offer a fair and cost-effective price. In the case of Vertex’s medicines for cystic fibrosis, NHS England has made a highly collaborative and flexible offer, and there are now discussions ongoing with the manufacturer to seek a final agreement.

Any deal is not for Ministers to approve, as NHS England rightly make an independent judgement. However, the Department is aware that meetings are taking place and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health (Lord O’Shaughnessy) and I wrote to Vertex in April following a Westminster Hall debate to encourage the company to work with NHS England on a proposal that represents value to the NHS.

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