Date: October 2019
A six-month campaign by the Daily Express resulted in the green light for a life-changing drug for cystic fibrosis sufferers in the UK. In October 2019, NHS England finally announced that it has sealed a deal with US drugs firm Vertex. The Daily Express had battled side-by-side with families from across the nation to help get them access to Vertex’s two main Cystic Fibrosis ‘wonder drugs’ – Orkambi and Symkevi.
When Vertex refused the NHS’ £108m-a-year offer in 2018, the firm withdrew from negotiations until the Daily Express aided both parties to come together in March. The renewal of discussions resulted in Vertex agreeing to a “significant” discount to the NHS which then paved the way for a similar deal in Wales and Northern Ireland.
The deal covered a third drug Kalydeco, already available on the NHS, but that treats only five percent of sufferers with a specific gene type. And Vertex agreed to submit new drug Trikafta to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Around half of the UK’s 10,500 CF patients are now able to now benefit from these three drugs with the hope Trikafta will eventually help 90% of all sufferers.
I pay tribute to the CF Trust and all who have helped campaign for this moment and to the Daily Express who have done their part to bring this to the attention of the nation.Health Secretary, Matt Hancock