Vertex reports 40% rise in revenues as it prepares to justify its refusal to make the lifesaving Orkambi cheaper for NHS patients
'A pharmaceutical giant charging the NHS an unaffordable price for a life-changing drug has further angered campaigners after posting a huge increase in its revenues.
Ministers are already under pressure to step in over the price of Orkambi, a cystic fibrosis drug that could extend the lives of thousands of children. Vertex, its manufacturer, has set a price of £104,000 per patient per year for the drug. It has turned down NHS England’s offer of £500m over five years for the use of its medicines.
In financial results that will inflame the row, the company has posted a 40% increase in revenues for the last quarter of 2018, with records suggesting it has around £2.3bn in the bank. The results come as the company prepares to face a parliamentary inquiry over its demands. Talks with the NHS have been stalled since last summer.
Vertex also reported that net income in the last quarter more than doubled, from $158m (£122m) to $337m. It said this jump in profits was “largely driven by the strong growth in total CF [cystic fibrosis] product revenues”.
Campaigners have called on the government to use an obscure law to allow the drug to be produced more cheaply. Under the 1977 Patents Act the state can effectively override a patent in the national interest, but the provision has rarely been used.'
Read more: Outrage as cystic fibrosis drug firm posts big profit