Cystic fibrosis: NHS patients in England to get life-transforming drugs 'within weeks' - (iNews via NewsPoints Desk)

  • NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said the health service is "on the verge” of giving the green light to make Vertex Pharmaceuticals' cystic fibrosis drugs Orkambi and Symkevi available to thousands of patients in England, reported iNews.

  • Stevens said negotiations between NHS England and Vertex had intensified and he was "increasingly confident" that a deal would be announced within the next month.

  • Orkambi and Symkevi have been shown to significantly improve lung function of patients with cystic fibrosis, reduce the need for hospital admissions and could even extend survival. 

  • However, NHS England has refused to fund the drugs south of the border. The list price is £104,000 per patient per year, although Vertex says it offered a discount of "tens of thousands of pounds," which NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), have said is still too high.

  • Health authorities in Scotland have already given the go-ahead for the drugs for 400 patients north of the border, with some patients and their families saying they might be forced to move to Scotland to access the treatments.

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