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Vertex's cystic fibrosis portfolio to be made available across Northern Ireland and Wales

Published on 13/11/19 at 12:53pm

After drawn out negotiations and much discontent among cystic fibrosis (CF) patients and their advocates, Vertex has announced that a deal has finally been reached that will make its crucial CF medications available to patients across Wales and Northern Ireland.

On 12 November, it emerged that the Regional Pharmaceutical Procurement Service in Northern Ireland reached an agreement with the manufacturer to make available all of its currently licensed CF therapies to patients in the region.

This includes Orkambi (lumacaftor/ivacaftor) for CF patients of at least two years of age with two copies of the F508del mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene, while CF patients at least 12 years old with either two copies of the F508del mutation or one copy in addition to one of the other 14 licensed mutations will be able to access Symkevi (tezacaftor/ivacaftor).

Additionally, CF patients at least 18 years old with the R117H mutation, as well as patients of at least 12 months with one of the nine licensed gating mutations, will also receive expanded access to Vertex’s Kalydeco (ivacaftor).

The agreement will also cover any and all future approved indications for these medicines. The terms of the deal mirror those agreed by NHS England just days earlier. The therapies will be made available in the coming weeks.

“We are pleased that the nearly 280 eligible cystic fibrosis patients in Northern Ireland will soon have access to CFTR modulators to treat the underlying cause of their disease and we thank the authorities in Northern Ireland for their collaboration and commitment in this agreement,” remarked Vertex’s Senior Vice President Ludovic Fenaux.  

Just one day later, it was revealed that Vertex had also reached an agreement with NHS Wales, covering the same therapies under the same conditions. To this, Fenaux also remarked: “Today’s announcement is good news for the approximately 270 eligible cystic fibrosis patients in Wales who will soon have access to CFTR modulators to treat the underlying cause of their disease. We thank the authorities in Wales for their collaboration in accepting this offer under the same terms as were recently announced in England.”

Matt Fellows

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