Cystic fibrosis drug to be available in England after pricing deal

LONDON, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Cystic fibrosis patients in England will have access to life-extending drugs after the state-funded health service said it had agreed a pricing deal with manufacturer Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

England’s National Health Service (NHS) has been negotiating with Vertex for years about supplying Orkambi, a combination drug that improves lung function.

The U.S. company had wanted to charge around 100,000 pounds ($129,000) a year for a course of Orkambi, according to reports. The terms agreed on Thursday were not disclosed.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “fantastic news for those suffering from this terrible disease.”

“I pay tribute to those who have campaigned so passionately and tirelessly on this issue - your efforts have made all the difference,” he said.

Two other Vertex cystic fibrosis treatments - Symkevi and Kalydeco - are included in the deal, Vertex said.

“This important agreement, reached in collaboration and partnership with NHS England and (funding watchdog) NICE, will allow more than 5,000 eligible cystic fibrosis patients in England to have access to CFTR modulators to treat the underlying cause of their disease,” said Ludovic Fenaux, senior vice president, Vertex International.

More than 10,000 people in Britain have cystic fibrosis, a debilitating, life-shortening inherited condition.

Vertex said it had also recently announced reimbursement agreements in Scotland, Australia and Spain.

$1 = 0.7756 pounds Reporting by Paul Sandle, Editing by William Maclean