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Vertex hikes price of cystic fibrosis drug

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Boston biotech Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. has boosted the list price of its best-selling cystic fibrosis treatment, called Orkambi, by 5 percent to $272,697 a year per patient.

The increase, which went into effect July 1, was the first increase for a Vertex medicine since 2013 and the only increase so far for Orkambi, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2015 for sale in the United States. The price doesn’t include discounts or rebates commonly negotiated with health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers.

Vertex spokeswoman Heather Nichols said the company has made investments in Orkambi since it was approved, including the bankrolling of clinical studies aimed at making it available to younger patients not covered by the initial approval. The price increase also “supports our work to bring more medicines to people with CF who are still waiting,” she said.

Robert Weisman can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.