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FDA shows a green light to Novartis’s gene therapy

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Date: 25th May 2019

Novartis’s gene therapy worth $2.1 million got approval from the Food and Drug Administration on Friday, which makes it the most expensive drug in the world. The gene therapy of the company is a treatment for atrophy in the muscles of the spine.

Zolgensma, the gene therapy, is a treatment for this disease which is one of the most common causes of infant mortality. According to reports, every one of 11,000 children born dies because of the disease. Earlier, the company had estimated the cost of the therapy to be between $1.5 million and $5 million.

Novartis has, as mentioned above, put the price of $2.1 million on the gene therapy. The cost would be distributed over a period of five years, making it cost $425,000 per year. The company is currently in discussions with insurance companies to produce a plan for these five years. It is negotiating with over 15 insurers over the proposition.

After the announcement of the approval of the drug on Friday, the shares of the company rose by 4 percent.

While the drug provides a one-time solution for a deadly disease, it is very expensive. Therefore, insurance companies and governments will have to consider the procedures through which the costs can be covered.

The high price of the treatment was also discussed by Norvatis in its statements. The company claimed that the total cost of the one-time treatment was only half as much as compared to the costs incurred during the usual treatment of the disease over a period of 10 years.

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An alternative treatment of spinal muscular atrophy is Spinraza, which is provided by Biogen. It costs $750,000 in the initial year of the treatment and $375,000 per annum afterwards.

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