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Late last year, Novartis (NVS) began marketing a breakthrough gene therapy for treating youngsters with advanced leukemia and slapped a $475,000 price tag on the one-time treatment. The eye-popping number sparked debate, but the drug was quickly deemed cost effective by a nonprofit watchdog.

The controversy is far from over, though.


A new analysis claims the drug, which is called Kymriah, is way overpriced and could cost one-third less, or $160,000, while still allowing Novartis to pocket its historic profit margins. And the researchers further argue there is a sad irony — the cost may preclude some patients from receiving access to the drug, even though it was developed with U.S. taxpayer funds.

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  • It is perhaps a fine irony that the Baird analyst who is quoted above … “Sorry to be Debbie Downer, but Kymriah is never going to provide a positive ROI [return on investment], even at $475,000,” …. has the initials “BS.”
    He may have access to the numbers that are “proprietary” – and know the potential number of patients – but at the price, 2100 treatments (‘not including rebates’ etc) will cost just about $1 Billion USD.

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