Growing criticism over stratospheric cost of spinal muscular atrophy-fighting drug Zolgensma ignores trade-off value


Novartis recently won FDA approval for Zolgensma, a new medicine that can potentially cure infants suffering from the otherwise fatal disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). But its record-high price of $2.125 million has sparked a broader conversation about drug pricing characterized by bemused practicality, scathing indignation, and everything in between.

 [W]hy is the price of Zolgensma so high?

Zolgensma is a bargain compared to the standard of care for SMA.


“[L]east expensive” is a relative term. $2.125 million is an astounding sum that only looks reasonable when compared to the prices of other healthcare products and services.

The ability to set a high price for new drugs incentivizes biomedical innovation.


It takes a lot of time and money to bring a new drug to the market, and the most innovative therapies often rely upon years—if not decades—of basic research from both industry and academia.

In the case of Zolgensma, insurers are expected to cover most (if not all) of its cost, but that just establishes a new baseline for what’s considered tolerable. At what price does innovation become too costly?

Read full, original post: Zolgensma: More Musings On The Price Of The World’s Most Expensive Drug (Part 3/3)

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