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In an unusual move, a coalition of cystic fibrosis patients and their families have filed a complaint with the United Nations, arguing that Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) is harming patient rights through prohibitive pricing and distribution policies for its life-saving medicines.

Specifically, the group maintained that Vertex is violating UN policies on attaining standards for public health, which were issued in 2000 and maintain that health is a “fundamental human right.” Their hope is that the UN Human Rights High Commission will investigate Vertex business practices and release findings that could be used by patients to pressure their countries to press for greater affordability.


Vertex pricing and distribution “infringe [on] the right to health of thousands of people globally by restricting access to the only medicines proven to be efficacious in treating their life-threatening condition,” according to the complaint that the Vertex Save Us group sent on Tuesday to the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur for Health at the UN Human Rights High Commission.

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