Breakthrough therapies are breaking patients' banks. Key changes could improve access, experts say.

Breakthrough therapies are breaking patients' banks. Key changes could improve access, experts say.

Single-treatment therapies are revolutionizing medicine. But insurers and patients wonder whether they can afford treatment and, if they can, whether the high costs are worthwhile.

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CSL Behring’s new gene therapy for hemophilia, Hemgenix, costs $3.5 million for one treatment, but helps the body create substances that allow blood to clot. It appears to be a cure, eliminating the need for other treatments for many years at least.

Likewise, Novartis’s Kymriah mobilizes the body’s immune system to fight B-cell lymphoma, but at a cost $475,000. For patients who respond, it seems to offer years of life without the cancer progressing.

These single-treatment therapies are at the forefront of a new, bold era of medicine. Unfortunately, they also come with new, bold prices that leave insurers and patients wondering whether they can afford treatment and, if they can, whether the high costs are worthwhile.

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Gail Dutton
Gail Dutton has covered the biopharmaceutical industry as a journalist for the past three decades. She focuses on the intersection of business and science, and has written extensively for GEN – Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Life Science Leader, The Scientist and BioSpace. Her articles also have appeared in Popular Science, Forbes, Entrepreneur and other publications.
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Luke Chesser - Unsplash

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