Families create buyers club for cut-price cystic fibrosis drug - (The Guardian via NewsPoints Desk)

  • UK families struggling to afford Vertex Pharmaceuticals' cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi are creating a buyers club to import the drug from Argentina, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

  • The NHS has previously indicated that it cannot afford the list price of the drug of 104 000 pounds per year, while negotiations with Vertex failed to reach an agreement last year.

  • Argentinian firm Gador produces a generic version of the drug, marketed as Lucaftor, which is priced at a 70 percent to 80 percent discount to Orkambi.

  • Campaigners noted that the government could the crown use provisions of UK patent law to make the generic drug available on the NHS or launch a large-scale trial in which it would be legal to use the generic drug.

  • "We have been open to discussing multiple options and flexibilities which would allow cystic fibrosis patients to access currently approved medicines," a Vertex spokesperson stated.

  • Meanwhile, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson remarked "it is absolutely right that patients should have access to cost-effective, innovative medicines on the NHS at a price we can afford," continuing "our approach remains to urge Vertex to accept NHS England’s generous offer."

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