The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) concluded in its final guidance that Orkambi ‘could not be considered a cost-effective use of NHS resources’ for the treatment of Cystic Fibrosis and subsequently did not recommend the drug for use on the NHS.
The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has said that the drug has been seen to slow down the progression of the illness by almost a half over a two year period. The trust has been pushing the pharmaceutical company, Vertex, to put forward a substantive proposal to NHS England.
The recommendations of the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) can do much to address many of the issues involving access to new drugs. The government has now accepted the recommendations which, it has said, will speed up the time it takes for patients to benefit from ground-breaking products. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has welcomed the establishment of a new Strategic Commercial Unit, as part of the AAR, to ensure the government has the best people to negotiate for fair and sustainable prices.
I believe it is the responsibility of the government to facilitate the end of the deadlock between Vertex and NHS England so that people can access this drug.
At the General Election I stood on a manifesto that pledged to tackle the growing problem of rationing of services and medicines across England. It also committed to ensuring that all NHS patients get fast access to the most effective new drugs and treatments, and to insist on value-for-money agreements with pharmaceutical companies.