A row has broken out between Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) and Canadian officials over access to its cystic fibrosis medicines, the latest instance in which the drug maker has locked horns with a government.
The drug maker maintained that five separate offers were made over the past several years to the pan-Canadian Pricing Alliance, which conducts joint negotiations on behalf of the provincial, territorial, and federal governments in the country, although provinces make reimbursement decisions. In response to questions, a Vertex spokeswoman claimed the company never received any feedback or opportunity to hold formal talks over three cystic fibrosis treatments that are approved for use in Canada.
“In the 18 months I have been in my role we have yet to receive any meaningful indication that the Ontario or Canadian governments wish to engage with Vertex,” said Duncan McKechnie, senior vice president for North America commercial operations at Vertex, in a statement. His remarks were actually issued by the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Society, an advocacy group that challenged Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott to reach a deal in the next 100 days.