Drug company 'needs to be fair'

Peter Dutton

Peter Dutton

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A PHARMACEUTICAL company that has a “miracle” drug needs to be fair and negotiate in good faith, says Heath Minister Peter Dutton.

Kalydeco, which is manufactured by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, is used to treat a rare form of cystic fibrosis that affects Goornong girl Amelia McCrohan.

The drug has been recommended for government subsidy, with conditions on the performance of the drug.

Amelia’s family said those conditions made the drug inaccessible.

But Mr Dutton said issues around pricing – the drug costs $300,000 per person, per year – needed to be resolved with Vertex.

“While it is pleasing that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has made a positive recommendation about the clinical efficacy of Kalydeco, they have also made recommendations about pricing arrangements, which are important to resolve,” he said.

“The PBAC recommended Kalydeco be listed at a reported cost of around $300,000 per patient per year, but in return, asked that evidence be provided that the drug is working.

“Other drug companies have agreed to this approach and this company (Vertex) should now explain why they won't be fair.”

Mr Dutton said the disease made the lives of children and their families “a living hell”, but said he would not interfere with the independent process. 

Vertex could not be reached for comment last night. 

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