The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England are leading the dialogue with Vertex Pharmaceuticals around access to their portfolio of cystic fibrosis medicines. It is critical that Vertex now re-engages fully with the NICE appraisal process and gives serious consideration to the portfolio deal offer that NHS England made at the end of July. This deal would provide immediate access for patients to all Vertex licensed medicines and future pipeline products once licensed and in advance of the individual NICE appraisals concluding. The Government fully supports the approach that NICE and NHS England are adopting. 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.
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 and would guarantee immediate and expanded access to both Orkambi and the drug Kalydeco for patients who need it. Whilst it is disappointing that Vertex has not taken up NHS England’s offer, we are encouraged that there is continued dialogue between all parties.