UK's health secretary Matt Hancock said that pharmaceutical companies are trying to "rip off taxpayers" and big business must be more socially responsible, The Times reported.
Hancock noted that he is "not going to let big pharmaceutical companies hold the NHS to ransom" as he negotiates over a new deal on drug prices for the health services.
He added that Vertex, which makes cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi, was offered by the NHS half a billion pounds over five years, but accused the company of being "engaged in a highly politicised campaign — directly campaigning to MPs to tell the NHS to pay more for an important drug that they are already making a tidy profit on."
"I think that they are attempting profiteering off the back of the NHS and they need instead to accept the deal and supply the drug right now," he said.
In response, a spokeswoman for Vertex noted that "we fundamentally disagree with the secretary of state for health and social care’s characterisation of our attitude and behaviour."
"We have made an offer to NHS England that is the best in the world, for all of our medicines and all patients, and their response has been to offer us a fraction of what other countries pay for our medicine," she said.
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