Novartis’ spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) treatment is expected to be “the most expensive treatment ever launched in the United States and perhaps in the world,” Steve Pearson, president and founder of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, tells WBUR.
A key reason the drug, Zolgensma, is expected to carry such a hefty price tag is because it’s a one-time treatment.
“So you try to capture all that value in a one-time price,” Pearson said. “It’s different than trying to figure out the price for something that you would take very day for the rest of your life, where you could spread out that cost.”
Havard Pilgrim Health Care’s Michael Sherman, however, told WBUR it’s “absurd” to calculate the value of a one-time according to years of life saved.
“If you go to the hospital and have your appendix out as a child, or they save yoru life through some other mechanism, we don’t pay the hospital $10 million for saving a child’s life,” he said.
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