Manufacturer of cystic fibrosis drug offers it for free during pandemic if feds negotiate on pricing - (CTV News via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals has offered to provide the cystic fibrosis drug Trikafta to patients for free during the COVID-19 pandemic if the Canadian government negotiates proposed changes to the country's drug-pricing system, reported CTV News.

  • Trikafta was approved in the US in 2019, but it is not available in Canada yet because Vertex has not submitted it to Health Canada for approval, citing concerns with proposed regulatory changes to the country's medicine-pricing rules.

  • The Canadian government's proposed changes to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB), which determines the maximum price a company can charge for a new patented drug sold in Canada, would force makers of patented drugs to drastically drop prices.

  • In an effort to secure access to Trikafta, the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Society appealed to Vertex to provide access to cystic fibrosis patients during the pandemic because they are particularly vulnerable to the virus.

  • In response, the pharmaceutical company has offered to provide the medication for free to every patient with cystic fibrosis in Canada for 90 days, but only if the Canadian government begins negotiations.

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