Cystic fibrosis drug company to re-engage with HSE on price of Orkambi

Cystic fibrosis drug company to re-engage with HSE on price of Orkambi

Vertex has responded to calls from the HSE with a view to re-engage on the pricing of cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi.

In a statement this evening, Minister for Health Simon Harris said he is pleased to learn that Vertex has responded to the HSE.

Speaking from a meeting with EU Health Ministers in Lisbon today on drug price negotiations, the Minister said: “I have always said that Vertex need to re-engage in a meaningful way with the HSE that addresses the core issue of price and affordability.

“In that context the company must return to the table with a significantly better offer.

“This has not happened to date and I again call on the company to re-engage in a meaningful way.

“However, I was pleased to learn that Vertex has responded to the HSE today with a view to re-engage in negotiations with them on Orkambi.

"In a meeting with some of my EU counterparts, I raised this issue of the unacceptably high price Vertex has put on this drug, making it inaccessible not just for Ireland's CF patients but for other patients around Europe.

“I intend to continue to intensify my engagement with colleagues in Europe and indeed other countries on this issue.

"I want to see CF patients receive access to the best treatments possible. That remains my priority."

Earlier, the Taoiseach described the circa €160,000 per patient, per year, being demanded for the cystic fibrosis drug, as "grossly excessive".

Read: Kenny says CF drug maker is 'ripping off the taxpayer'

Mr Kenny said that the Health Minister is also negotiating with other countries to see if a cheaper price can be achieved.

“We will work with the Executive in Northern Ireland, and we will work with the Ministers for Health in those other countries to whom Minister Harris has written, in the hope that the manufacturer sees sense, and that the justification for bringing the drug in here to relieve patients who can benefit from it can be achieved.”

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