It is crucial that patients have access to the most effective and innovative medicines at a price that represents value to the National Health Service. While Ministers are keeping a very close eye on negotiations, it is the responsibility of NHS England as the commissioner and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as the independent body that is responsible for making recommendations on whether drugs and other treatments represent a clinically and cost-effective use of NHS resources, to work with Vertex to agree a deal to secure the best outcome for patients and a price for Orkambi that is fair and responsible.
NHS England has proposed its best offer ever for a drug. This offer, in the region of £500 million over five years, is the largest ever commitment of its kind in the 70-year history of the NHS. This would guarantee immediate and expanded access to both Orkambi and the drug Kalydeco for patients who need it. While it is disappointing that Vertex has not taken up NHS England’s offer, we are pleased to hear that they have responded positively to NHS England’s and NICE’s latest offer to meet. We would urge Vertex to reconsider this fair offer.