Viewpoint: The $2.1M drug price record won't last long

The FDA approved Novartis' $2.1 million gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy last week — making it the world's most expensive drug. However, the $2.1 drug price record won't last long, according to an opinion piece on Bloomberg.

There were two major responses that followed the approval of Zolgensma, the gene therapy for a deadly childhood muscular disease. Critics argued the price is out of control, while supporters saw a potential cure for a disease that is often fatal for children before age 2.

Bloomberg columnist Max Neilson argued that both are valid reactions, but countries are heading toward a point where gene therapy prices will threaten access or limit usage of the drug by income or insurance coverage.

The problem of access doesn't just come down to the pricing of Zolgensma, Mr. Neilson said. Instead, "it's the dozens of other incoming gene therapies that will use this price as a reference point."

"Miracle cures don't do much good if they aren't accessible," he added.

Mr. Neilson argued that the $2.1 million gene therapy cost is made to be broken. There is a possibility that the next generation of gene therapies will be even more effective and that could mean even more expensive therapies.

In addition, while an initial group of potentially curative gene therapies won't break the healthcare bank, there are dozens more in the works that could, especially as drugmakers pivot to the lucrative market.

Overall, Mr. Neilson said that it's time to address the cost debate, instead of waiting for the point where "seven-figure price tags aren’t remarkable anymore."

Read the full opinion piece here.

More articles on pharmacy:
How hospitals can better align the pharmacy to achieve its strategic goals
Google sister-company Verily partners with big pharma for clinical trials
Merck's Keytruda fails late-stage trial as standalone treatment for breast cancer

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2019. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months