Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services

First published:
25 October 2019
Last updated:

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On 12 August I tabled a written statement about access to medicines for patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) in response to the ongoing and considerable concerns raised by individuals, their families, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Assembly Members and this Government. 

Following NHS England’s announcement late yesterday that they have reached a deal with the manufacturers, Vertex,  I can confirm that Vertex are engaging constructively with Welsh Government officials with a view to brokering an equivalent arrangement to benefit patients in Wales.

My position has always been that new and innovative medicines should be made available quickly and consistently for patients in Wales but only where their cost fairly reflects the evidence of their benefits. 

Members will be aware this Government has been working with Vertex to ensure they participate in the recognised All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) evidence-based appraisal process.  I can confirm that since my previous statement, Vertex has engaged in the AWMSG process in respect of both Orkambi and Symkevi. 

My officials have been working alongside NHS England during these negotiations and, as a result, the legal agreement reached includes a requirement that Vertex must make equivalent terms available to the NHS in Wales.

In light of this and the agreement reached with NHS England, my officials will be meeting representatives from Vertex next week to discuss the details of how the terms reached in the NHS England agreement might apply to Wales.  I will ensure Members are updated when further details are available.