Since December last year, patients with Cystic Fibrosis in Wales have been able to access Kalydeco®, Orkambi® and Symkevi® as a result of a commercial access agreement reached between NHS Wales and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Today (30 June), in light of the announcement by NHS England that they have reached an agreement to make Vertex’s triple therapy (elexacaftor, tezacaftor, ivacaftor) available later this year, I wish to provide an update on the situation in Wales.
It is important to make clear that whilst triple therapy has been recommended by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), it will not be routinely available in the UK until it is granted a marketing authorisation by the European Medicines Agency. We now know the marketing authorisation is likely to be granted later this summer.
I can confirm that my officials have been working closely with NHS England during their negotiations and as a result, the legal agreement reached includes a requirement that Vertex must make equivalent terms available to the NHS in Wales.
My officials have been meeting with representatives of Vertex and discussions are progressing constructively to reach a commercial agreement, which will ensure triple therapy is available to eligible CF patients in Wales under terms that are acceptable to NHS Wales and at a price that reflects the value of triple therapy.
I am very aware that patients and their families will expect these medicines to be made available promptly once they are licensed. I have therefore asked for work to reach an agreement to be taken forward urgently and ahead of triple therapy being granted a marketing authorisation and being routinely available in the UK.