Cystic Fibrosis: Drugs

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 4th September 2018.

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Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Independent, Bury South

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Adjournment debate of 17 July 2018 on Access to Orkambi, Official Report, cols 377-386, what steps he is taking to (a) facilitate and (b) participate as appropriate in a meeting between the chief executives of NHS England and of Vertex to discuss patient access to lumacaftor-ivacaftor and other medicines for cystic fibrosis.

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

As was made clear in the Debate on 17 July 2018, Official report, columns 377-386, Ministers are watching this issue very closely. However, it is vital that we go through the right process. It is the responsibility of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England, to work together with Vertex to secure the best outcome for patients and a price for Orkambi that is fair and responsible.

It is an important principle that the National Health Service must ensure that healthcare services secure the best value for patients, and that is the approach NHS England is rightly taking. It is disappointing that Vertex has chosen to withdraw from NICE’s technology appraisal of its latest cystic fibrosis medicine, Symkevi, and NICE and NHS England wrote to Vertex on 31 August to signal their continued willingness to meet with Vertex to discuss access to its new cystic fibrosis medicines.

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