Health Questions - Orkambi

Stephen Hepburn MP for the Jarrow Constituency has continued to keep up the pressure on the Government to ensure the life-changing drug Orkambi is made available on the NHS for Cystic Fibrosis sufferers.

Speaking at Health Questions in Parliament recently, Mr Hepburn called on the Health Secretary:

“Does the Secretary of State support immediate interim access to Orkambi while the negotiations are going on, and has he asked NHS England, NICE and Vertex to consider this option?”

The Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Health, replied:

“We are having constructive discussions—I am delighted that finally Vertex has agreed to participate in them; the parties have committed to providing the data needed for an objective assessment of the drugs in question, and I look forward to the discussions proceeding effectively.”

Mr Hepburn has constituents such as four-year-old Jarrow girl Harriet Corr who is battling cystic fibrosis.  Her family face the difficult decision of whether to uproot to Scotland in the hope she will have access to the wonder drug that could extend her life. Harriet was diagnosed with the genetic disorder at just five days old.  Her mother Emma Corr is forced to give her young daughter a cocktail of drugs and vitamins, as well as intense physiotherapy, every day.

Orkambi is already available in the Republic of Ireland, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece and the United States.

Around 10,000 in the UK suffer from Cystic Fibrosis.  Last year, around 550 people from the Jarrow constituency demanding that the drug is made available on the NHS. Across the UK, over 114,000 people signed it.    

Stephen Hepburn MP said:

“It is vital that the deadlock must be broken between Vertex, the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England to agree on a deal which prioritises the lives of patients over financial interests.

 “I will continue to keep raising this important issue in Parliament until this life changing drug is made available on the NHS.”

Meet your MP


Stephen Hepburn has served the Jarrow Constituency as MP since 1997.

He was last elected to serve in June 2017 and won the seat with a conclusive 17,263 majority.

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