Dudley North MP Ian Austin has welcomed NHS England’s agreement with Vertex Pharmaceuticals to make life-changing drugs available for people with Cystic Fibrosis
They have made assurances that there will be no cap on patient numbers, and every patient in England who might be able to benefit can now get Orkambi, Symkevi and Kalydeco free on the NHS.
Since 2015, Austin has been campaigning to ensure these drugs are made available after being contacted by constituents with the condition.
Working closely with the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the CF community, Austin has had held meetings and debates in Parliament, tabled questions and written cross-party letters to the Department of Health, urging the Government to make these lifesaving medicines available on the NHS.
In August, Austin and a cross-party coalition of 116 MPs wrote to Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, and Dr Jeff Leiden, CEO of Vertex, urging them to reach a deal and bring an end to the health “crisis”.
The UK has the second highest prevalence of cystic fibrosis of any country in the world. There are more than 8,200 people with CF living in England, and approximately 4,387 will stand to benefit from these drugs which have been shown to slow the decline in lung function and reduce hospital admissions.
The news means that clinicians will be able to begin prescribing these drugs within 30 days and many people suffering with CF can finally benefit from these treatments after a four-year campaign.
Ian Austin said:
“This is amazing news! Finally, people with CF living in England will have access to Orkambi, Symkevi and Kalydeco.
“We’ve been campaigning for this for years. Thanks to all MPs who signed our letters, came to our debates, asked questions & lobbied ministers.
“But thanks most of all to the amazing parents, the CF Trust, and my constituents Carly Jeavons and Samantha Carrier who fought so hard!
“This is exactly what politics is for: listening to your constituents and improving their lives.”
David Ramsden, CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said:
“This is a very special day and I want to thank people with CF, their families and everyone who has been part of this campaign for their persistence and determination to keep on fighting.
“We know it doesn’t end here – we will continue to fight for similar access in Wales and Northern Ireland so that all people with CF in the UK are able to benefit from these life-saving drugs.”