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The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a futuristic new approach to treating cancer, clearing a Novartis therapy that has produced unprecedented results in patients with a rare and deadly cancer. The price tag: $475,000 for a course of treatment.

That sounds staggering to many patients — but it’s far less than analysts expected.


The therapy, called a CAR-T, is made by harvesting patients’ white blood cells and rewiring them to home in on tumors. Novartis’s product is the first CAR-T therapy to come before the FDA, leading a pack of novel treatments that promise to change the standard of care for certain aggressive blood cancers.

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  • This is a very important step, probably coming out of dark ages.
    The cost is irrelevant and it would have been OK to be 10 millions too.

    The ‘first’ digital camera chip was about 50 000 and it did only several hundred pixels. A much better thing now costs maybe a couple of bucks.

    As long as you have patients to pay for the drug to at least keep it on the market is perfect.
    Current Cancer therapies are barbaric to say the least, practically up there with blood letting and most patients die because Pharmas are not interested in gene therapies because there is little money to be made compared to one size kills all type of drugs.
    But that’s the only way to have a decent treatment.

  • Drug companies are focused on developing the most costly drugs to fill their coffers to over-flowing. Costly drugs are unsustainable. $450,000 spent on prenatal care in poor communities could save many more lives and prevent costly neo-natal intensive care. US has some of the highest infant mortality in the developed world. We need price controls on costly drugs and single payer to negotiate prices. Our present unregulated and profit driven system is wasteful, outrageously expensive, and unsustainable.

  • I hope no one I know doesn’t ever need this medicine, including myself, being that I am a survivor… it may be worth it, but it is not fair, especially to the child, because no one asked to be sick, but now that the medicine has finally accessible… the only way to get is to make the workers of wall street, the chemist, and Doctors richer. They r goin to hell for that!!! Just sayin! 450,000 and people have to quit jobs everyday to take care of their sick babies… all I can do is shake me head!

    • The doctors have nothing to do with the outrageous cost of CAR-T. That is the pharmaceutical companies doing. As a doctor I am not in support of personalized gene therapy treatments until they are uniformly affordable to everyone. Paying the income of 4 pharmacists annual salaries per dose is not affordable no matter how analysts try to spin it.

  • These prices are insane. The only people who would only be able to buy it is the wealthy people. Just goes to show us all who is more important in this world. The rich is not one once better then anyone else. This medicine has been around for years and your making it sound like it’s all a new thing. That is a lie. Shame on you all. If we all can’t afford it then no one should get to buy it. I’m praying God puts a stop to you crooked people.

  • Oops, the article forgot to mention this was not developed by Novartis, it was developed by publicly and charity funded researchers who have toiled for over 20 years and to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, and only snatched up and price gouged by Novartis once it worked in initial clinical trials.

    Corruption cannot even begin to be stopped if the media doesn’t do its job of informing the public in the first place.

    • I have got to say this is correct. Even if a company makes a drug, sells it out to another, in most cases it’s all about profit an these companies are virtually out of control on prices and the federal government needs to put some regulations in on these companies. I was on a drug for years that help me so very much. And I could afford it at a cost of around 47.00 and suddenly the drug went up to 120.00. I did research with the pharmacist and found that the small generic company was bought ou by a larger company and immediately raised the price for the same drug by quadrupled the drug price. These companies are not thereto help the patient but to find ways to jack up prices for their own good. Of course, I no longer am able to use a product that helped me for13 years an I’m sure there are others seeing this happen. Who really cares?

  • “And it’s considerably cheaper than the roughly $700,000 price tag that U.K. regulators said would be fair considering Kymriah’s potential benefits.”

    Isn’t this $700K price (higher) because its for children? Wonder what NHS thinks is reasonable for adults?

  • We just found out my mother has what I believe is acute leukemia I just heard the story that your company has a cure. My mother in law is 77 yrs old I believe she started quemo yesturday would your med help her? Thanks for helping others for everything is important!!

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