Thousands of cystic fibrosis patients in England have had their health drastically improved by a “miracle” treatment, allowing one to give birth to a baby, since the NHS made it available exactly one year ago today.
In the past 12 months, NHS patients in England benefited from one of the fastest rollouts in the world of the cystic fibrosis triple-therapy, Kaftrio, alongside treating hundreds of thousands of seriously unwell patients with COVID.
Nine in 10 people with cystic fibrosis in England now have access to therapies which patients describe as a “miracle”, thanks to a series of medicines deals secured by the NHS.
There are around 8,000 people living with cystic fibrosis in England – the second highest proportion in the world.
Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.
Kaftrio described by patient groups as a “revolutionary drug” has benefitted people like Laura whose parents were told that she would be lucky if she reached the age of 30.
Laura, now 30, started the treatment a year ago at Royal Papworth Hospital, allowing her health to drastically improve so that she could give birth to a baby boy called Louis.
The NHS Long Term Plan committed to using cutting edge treatments and therapies to save and improve patients’ lives.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS National Medical Director for England, said:
The deal is one of a package made possible by the NHS’ advanced commercial capabilities, which have delivered an innovative gene-therapy to cure blindness and the world’s most expensive drug, Zolgensma, which can cure paralysis in babies.
Dr Keith Brownlee, Director of Medical Affairs at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said:
The drug according to patients like Jack significantly improves lung function, helping them to breathe more easily.
Jack Harris, from Nottinghamshire, 32, has cystic fibrosis and began using Kaftrio in October last year. His lung function has increased 61% to 93%, and he has gained 12 kilograms and is now at a healthy weight.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:
Andrew Wilfin, UK and Ireland Medical Director, Vertex said: