Amgros has worked with Steen Werner Hansen, Assistant Director at Herlev/Gentofte Hospital to negotiate the contract with Vertex. The objective has been to agree on a reasonable price in a new type of contract that covers all the company’s current and upcoming cystic fibrosis medicines. And at a fixed annual price.
In addition to Steen Werner Hansen, two of Denmark’s leading specialist cystic fibrosis physicians have contributed with their expertise.
The parties signed the agreement on 1 October 2018.
There is currently only one supplier of pharmaceuticals that treat the cause of cystic fibrosis. The company is called Vertex. Danish use of the company’s products has so far been limited to a small group of patients. Back in 2016, the former Coordination Council for the Application of Hospital Medicine(KRIS) concluded that there was no documented justification for using the Orkambi drug as a standard treatment for all patients.
However, now, new studies have shown evidence of long-term effects of the drug.
“KRIS acknowledged that there were several positive results from the initial registration studies, although data from follow-up studies with longer observation periods show that there is a smaller than expected drop in lung function for the group of patients in the studies. Nutritional condition improved and the number of disease deteriorations fell. Treatment results for Danish patients with a significantly worse disease than the patients who took part in the registration studies have confirmed the effect. Therefore, Orkambi can be considered as a standard treatment for patients with cystic fibrosis and this will be an enormous help for patients,” said Steen Werner Hansen.
The new contract means that we can now offer the very latest medicine to a large number of the about 500 patients in Denmark who suffer from cystic fibrosis. The contract is not only significant because it runs for four years, with an option to extend, and because the fixed monthly amount means that we can have as many packages of the medicine as we need. This contract also means that we can start to use future Vertex medicines to treat cystic fibrosis immediately after they have been approved by the European and Danish pharmaceuticals authorities, and without further costs.
“This rather special contract opens many new doors. Physicians can use Vertex’s current and future drugs for all patients with cystic fibrosis if they can see that the treatment is relevant as soon as the medicines have been approved by the European and Danish pharmaceuticals authorities. And at no extra cost whatsoever. Therefore, in future, a large group of patients will have the fastest possible access to treatment without this further impacting regional budgets,” said Steen Werner Hansen.
At Amgros, Per Larsen, chairman of the board and member of North Denmark Region (Conservative) is extremely pleased and he welcomes the new agreement.
“There have been protracted and tough negotiations. Therefore, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank both the company and our leading physicians in the area for their willingness and commitment to get this contract into place. I’m especially pleased that we in the regions can now offer a group of our patients the latest and best overall treatment.”
And he continues:
“But of course I’m also delighted that Amgros has managed to reduce significantly the price of this drug. It means a lot that the regions can now plan their budgets better in a very expensive area and at a time when pharmaceuticals prices are constantly rising. Therefore, it will also be exciting to see how Amgros in the future can use this new type of contract, which clearly shows that we are attentive to the industry’s desire to take new roads.
The contract took effect from 1 October, and this is the first time that Amgros has signed this type of contract with a pharmaceuticals company. In many ways, the contract is different from our usual framework agreement. In particular because this contract entails that we pay a fixed amount, irrespective of the number of patients we treat. Amgros primarily enters into framework agreements in which the regions are not obligated to pay anything unless they purchase goods or services.
Morgan Savage, Nordic General Manager at Vertex had the following comment:
“We’d like to congratulate Amgros on their innovative approach and ideas. And their strong commitment to working together to set up this pioneering contract. We share the same belief in the value inherent in our pharmaceuticals. This long-term contract means that about 500 Danish patients with cystic fibrosis will be among the first in the world with access to the latest CFTR modulating drugs, as soon as they come on the market,” he said.
About 500 people in Denmark have cystic fibrosis (CF), and approximately 15 children are born with the disease every year. Cystic fibrosis is a congenital, life-shortening, chronic disease that develops very differently from patient to patient. There is a lot of genetic variation in the disease.