NHS England has today announced it has secured a definitive agreement to make three of the UK-licensed cystic fibrosis medicines available on the NHS.
The new deal with Vertex Pharmaceuticals will see patients will now have full access to Orkambi, Symkevi and Kalydeco, and around 5,000 people may now take up these treatments.
With no cap on patient numbers, every patient in England who might benefit can now get these treatments, and within 30 days clinicians will be able to begin prescribing these drugs.
NHS England has been able to finalise this negotiation because the company agreed to confidential commercial terms that ‘constitute good value for British taxpayers’, and has agreed to submit its drugs for full NICE appraisal.
The agreement provides access to all three drugs for current licensed indications, as well as future license extensions too.
Announcing the agreement, NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said: “The UK 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.
“That fact also means that any drug company wanting to succeed commercially in this field needs to work constructively with the NHS.
“I’m pleased that Vertex has now agreed a deal that is good for our patients and fair to British taxpayers.”
The agreement has also been backed by NICE, and a key part of the deal is that Vertex will submit its full portfolio including in due course its new triple therapy to NICE for comprehensive appraisal.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “Some wonderful news this morning. We’ve agreed a deal to provide Orkambi and other lifesaving Cystic Fibrosis drugs on the NHS. The deal is great value for money for the NHS, and crucially, will improve thousands of lives.
“This deal – on the back of several others this summer – shows why we get some of the best value drugs in the world, and is another reason to be so proud of our NHS.”