Vertex will make $21bn from cystic fibrosis drug

The US company, Vertex, is claiming that it must price its cystic fibrosis drug, Orkambi, at a high level to cut losses and invest in future drugs. Orkambi is a life-changing cystic fibrosis drug which is currently unaffordable to the NHS and Vertex is refusing to cut their prices. Parents have been desperately campaigning to get access to the drugs for their children with cystic fibrosis. However, a paper by professor of economics (Aidan Hollis) at Calgary University in Canada estimates that Vertex will make £17 billion ($21.2 bn) from Orkambi and Kalydeco – its two cystic fibrosis drugs.

Vertex’s prices mean that it would cost £104,000 per patient per year for Orkambi. The company’s accounts show product revenues in the second quarter of 2019 up 25% on last year. Vertex is currently developing a new drug containing both the previous drugs and a third drug. The new drug is estimated to help 90% of cystic fibrosis sufferers, whereas the current drugs only help a small proportion of patients.

Full story in The Guardian, 12 August 2019