Viewpoint: Cost of gene therapy could put experimental treatments out of reach for most

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Drugs that modify human genes have the potential to cure intractable diseases with just one treatment. Few could disagree that’s a good thing. But if these same drugs cost $1 million or more a pop, then the disagreements begin.

Given the prices of existing medicines, drugmakers will argue that a one-time hemophilia treatment — even at a very high cost — will rapidly pay for itself. But such arguments still may not convince payers. Gene therapies may not always deliver lasting cures. There’s also an unfortunate dynamic unique to the U.S. health-care market and private insurance that makes this type of medicine especially problematic. People swap jobs and insurers all the time.

The industry needs to migrate toward pay-for-performance pricing, in which drugmakers get fully paid only if their medicines work and save money over the long run. Drugmakers need to accept that they won’t get traditional profit margins on these products and bear some of the risk for drug failures. Payers need to learn to think long-term, to become more flexible, and to acknowledge and pay for value when it’s delivered. The current trajectory, toward extreme price tags and extreme resistance to them, will only hurt patients.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: How to Avoid a Disastrous Gene-Therapy Price Battle

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