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The icy relationship between Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) and the Canadian government is showing signs of thawing a wee bit as the pan-Canadian Pricing Alliance opened talks over one of the company’s cystic fibrosis drugs, a move that comes shortly after the agency reached an agreement on a different Vertex medicine for the illness.

The Alliance, which conducts joint negotiations on behalf of the provincial, territorial, and federal governments in the country, decided to proceed with the talks for the drug Orkambi in hopes of breaking a long-standing logjam with Vertex over its cystic fibrosis medicines. The clash has been closely tracked by patients and their families, who say they are being treated as pawns.


However, an Alliance spokeswoman wrote us that “a major consideration” for holding the talks was a request made for Vertex to submit data about a new triple combination therapy called Trikafta to other Canadian agencies for clinical and cost effectiveness reviews. The drug maker has so far declined to do so due to a pending rule change that governs pricing, as well as the larger dust up over government agency reviews.

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