$2.1 million gene therapy is most expensive drug in history

5-29-2019 zolgensma
Child with spinal muscular atrophy. Image: Global News

The federal Food and Drug Administration has approved a gene therapy for a rare childhood disorder that is now the most expensive drug on the market. It costs $2.125 million per patient. But for those patients lucky enough to get it, it appears it can save their lives with a one-time treatment.

“It’s absolutely stunning,” says Peter Bach, who studies health policy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Zolgensma’s price tag, he says, is just the most extreme example of how drug prices are draining resources from society.

“We have been slowly subjected to price increases the same way the frog in the boiling water is slowly boiled to death,” Bach says.

Related article:  Searching for life in the universe: 'We humans are probably not special'

The drug is delivered as a single one-time dose to address the genetic root cause of the disorder, the company says, producing long-term effects. From that point of view, [AveXis president David] Lennon calls it “highly cost-effective” and a “fair and reasonable price.”

Drug companies need to be able to recoup the costs of developing life-saving, cutting-edge treatments, he says, if they’re going to be encouraged to find new breakthroughs.

Read full, original post: At $2.1 Million, New Gene Therapy Is The Most Expensive Drug Ever

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