Andrew Little calls out 'bullsh*t' pricing for cystic fibrosis drug Trikafta set by American pharmaceutical company

Health Minister Andrew Little has called out an American pharmaceutical company for what he calls "bullshit" pricing for their drug Trikafta.

The "miracle" drug is used by people with cystic fibrosis and helps them live a normal life.

Pharmac has announced it wants to fund the treatment as a high priority, saying it has a "significant health need for cystic fibrosis patients aged 6 years and older". 

"What we've announced is that we have added this to our options for investment list. It is a medicine that we would like to fund," says Pharmac director of operations Lisa Williams.

She also describes Trikafta as a "paradigm shift" in treatments for patients with cystic fibrosis.

"That's the term that our expert advisers used when they talked about that medicine."

But the drug costs $330,000 per year per person, making it an expensive medication for those who need it - so Pharmac needs the Government to step up.

"We wouldn't be able to fund this medicine unless we got a significant uplift to our budget," Williams says.

Andrew Little came out swinging at American pharmaceutical company Vertex.
Andrew Little came out swinging at American pharmaceutical company Vertex. Photo credit: Newshub.

But Little unleashed on Trikafta's maker, American pharmaceutical company Vertex, for its pricing of the drug.

"Pharmac's role is, frankly, to cut through that bullshit and negotiate prices that are realistic," he says.

But for those with cystic fibrosis, they just want the pills.

"Jacinda, we need to fund these pills. We need to fund Trikafta. Without it we are going to die," says Ed Lee.

"These pills are our daily miracle."

Trikafta-user Izaeah Twose is calling on the Government to double Pharmac's budget.

"This little miracle pill lets me live my life on my terms - that's it," he says.

"Jacinda you are holding people's lives in your hands," fellow Trikafta user Bella Powell says.

The trio says they are "ecstatic", "hopeful", and "grateful" about Trikafta being added to Pharmac's priority list of drugs it wants to fund.