Jeff Leiden began his testimony in front of the UK Parliament’s Health and Social Care Committee with a note that as a medical student, he’s spent three months in London’s Queen Square Hospital. That first-hand knowledge of the NHS, however, has not helped ease tensions with the single payer system for the past few years over the reimbursement of Orkambi. Nor did it bring him any closer to the politicians who invited him under the spotlight on Thursday.
In an hourlong back and forth between the Vertex CEO, his chief commercial officer and several MPs where accusations and frustrations were lurking just under a thin veil of British politeness, the two sides dug into the company’s business model, executive compensation, the role of public and philanthropic dollars in developing new cystic fibrosis drugs, as well as moral and political implications of the whole discussion.
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