Pharmaceutical company Vertex has announced that, following constructive discussions with the SNP Government, it will submit Cystic Fibrosis medicines Orkambi and Symkevi to the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) for appraisal to become available on the Scottish NHS.
The SMC is the body that makes decisions, independently of the SNP Government and Scottish Parliament, about which medicines should be made generally available on the NHS in Scotland.
If it approves Orkambi and Symkevi, eligible patients could have access to these precision cystic fibrosis medicines in 2019.
People with cystic fibrosis experience a build-up of thick sticky mucus in the lungs, digestive system and other organs, causing a wide range of challenging symptoms affecting the entire body.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP said:
"This is a positive announcement from Vertex that it will submit medicines designed to treat cystic fibrosis to the SMC for consideration.
"Both Orkambi and newly Symkevi will be reviewed.
"This move follows constructive discussions between the Scottish Government and the company to ensure our new medicines appraisal process is as flexible as possible, while ensuring rigor in its assessment. We look forward to the SMC’s decision.
"In the meantime we welcome that Vertex has agreed to make their medicines available at a discounted rate when they are accessed through the Peer Approved Clinical System (PACS) for medicines that are not yet generally available in the NHS."
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“In 2016, 367 children and 541 adults in Scotland were registered as active cystic fibrosis patients, some of whom live in my constituency.
“In recent years the SNP Government has made a series of changes to the way new medicines are considered by the SMC, enabling it to work flexibly to take into account a wider range of evidence.
“This has meant that more new medicines are generally available, and particularly those for rare and end of life conditions. The SMC now approves 79% of new medicines for these conditions, up from 48% between 2011 and 2013.
“Having previously raised the issue with the First Minister on behalf of constituents, I am hopeful that its consideration by the SMC will result in a favourable outcome for Cystic Fibrosis patients across Scotland.”