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Vertex to Profit $21B on Cystic Fibrosis Drug

Orkambi is a life-changing cystic fibrosis drug that’s under scrutiny for its pricing, which the NHS claims is unaffordable.

Cystic Fibrosis / Image: Shutterstock
Cystic Fibrosis / Image: Shutterstock

A recent article from The Guardian discussed an aggressively priced cystic fibrosis drug that is on pace to earn its company $21 billion in profits. The drug is Orkambi from Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and it costs roughly $125,000 a year per patient. The drug was first licensed three years ago, and since then people have campaigned, demonstrated, and pleaded with the drug company to lower the price on the life-saving children’s drug.

Vertex says the company has invested $11.8 billion in research, and needs to price Orkambi accordingly in order to invest in future drugs for the disease. However, a professor at University of Calgary in Canada disputes this, estimating that Vertex will make $21.1 billion in profit over the lifetime of the drug and its sister drug Kalydeco.

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