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Vertex chief Jeffrey Leiden to weigh in on Orkambi inquiry

Will be joined by chief commercial officer Stuart Arbuckle

Vertex’s long-running spat with NHS England has amounted to a legal inquiry scheduled to begin this Thursday, and Vertex chief Jeffrey Leiden is set to be among those cross examined.

Leiden

Jeffrey Leiden, CEO, Vertex

He will be joined by the company’s chief commercial officer, Stuart Arbuckle who will also present evidence to support the company’s stance on the pricing of its cystic fibrosis (CF) drug Orkambi.

The inquiry will be led by the UK’s Health and Social Care Committee, which is aiming to resolve the stalemate between NHS England and Vertex.

But that war has been waged since 2016, when England’s cost-effectiveness watchdog first rejected the £100,000 drug citing that the price was “unsupportable”.

After a rejection, pharma companies would then normally pursue negotiations with NICE to come to an agreement that’s beneficial to all parties involved.

However, Vertex rejected NHS England’s last and final deal, which offered the company guaranteed revenues of £500m over the next five years and £1bn over 10 years for all of its cystic fibrosis drugs.

That deal included the approval of Vertex’s next-generation CF treatment Symkevi, but Vertex pulled that drug from the NICE approval process after it rejected the offer.

According to the UK Cystic Fibrosis Registry Report, around 3,000 people in England could benefit from Orkambi, which treats the F503del mutation present in around 50% of CF sufferers in the UK.

The UK could be a big market for Vertex, which has been facing mounting pressure from patient groups calling for a deal to be struck.

Although not a cure, Orkambi can slow decline in lung function, which is the main cause of death among people with cystic fibrosis.

NHS England’s National Director, Specialised Commissioning John Stewart has spoken out against Vertex, calling the company an “extreme outlier in terms of both its pricing and behaviour”.

John Stewart

Stewart will also get to share his side of the story at the inquiry, and he will be joined by NHS England’s National Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis, NICE’s chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon and NICE’s Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation Meindert Boysen.

A patient representative will also speak during the inquiry, but will be the only person with CF present due to the risk of cross-infection with other CF patients.

Article by
Gemma Jones

4th March 2019

From: Sales

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