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Statement on SACFA Announcement

Yesterday the South African CF Association (SACFA) announced an agreement which will facilitate the supply of Trikafta to CF patients that are members of a ‘top-end’ medical insurer at no cost to them. Of course, this is fantastic news for some and we celebrate this moment with those fortunate families that are able to access Trikafta in this way. The future is certainly looking brighter for them.

It is clear from this development that Vertex realise they have to do more to address the deep health injustice their high prices are causing in South Africa and around the world. This is a response to increasing pressure on them to act. However, we are deeply concerned about the lack of transparency around this agreement and the scale of impact this will have on South African CF patients’ lives.

There are many critical questions left unanswered and we reiterate our view that schemes of this nature that rely upon the voluntary benevolence of drug companies are not sustainable solutions to access challenges.

What we know with certainty is that this is not a solution for all South African CF patients - in fact, the majority of patients will still not be able to access Trikafta under this agreement. This move by Vertex is in fact likely to widen the disparity between rich and poor, and lead to untold distress for those that have to continue to watch their children and loved ones suffer and die.

We will continue to support the on-going efforts in the High Court, led by Cheri Nel alongside hundreds of South African CF patients, to overcome the monopoly which lies at the heart of the deep inequalities in access to CF modulators, and end Vertex’s patent abuse on these lifesaving medicines.

We urge all patients and families, including those who stand to benefit from the agreement announced by SACFA, to continue to sign-up as co-applicants alongside Cheri so that affordable, generic versions of these lifesaving drugs can be made available on sustainable terms for all South Africans patients.


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