New cancer drug could have astronomical price
Kaiser Health News
A new leukemia drug being hailed by doctors as a breakthrough could prove among the most expensive therapies ever on the market.
For a single treatment, the price is expected to reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“It is a revolutionary treatment,” said Dr. Prakash Satwani, a pediatric hematologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, noting that the therapy can help some leukemia patients with no other options.
But, he added, “the price will be phenomenal.”
Switzerland-based Novartis hasn’t announced a price, but British health authorities have said $649,000 for a one-time treatment would be justified, given the significant benefits.
The therapy was unanimously approved by a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee in July, and its approval by the FDA in October seems all but certain.
The treatment, CTL019, belongs to a new class of medications called CAR T-cell therapies, which involve harvesting patients’ immune cells and genetically altering them to kill cancer.