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An Expensive Deal

Some gene therapies are being associated with eye-popping price tags, but MIT's Technology Review reports that, despite their cost, the treatments could really be a deal.

The recently approved CAR-T cell therapy from Novartis, Kymriah, to treat young people with acute lymphoblastic leukemia is reported by the New York Times to cost $475,000. Other treatments might push higher, to some $900,000, it added.

Managing the rare diseases that gene treatments are aimed at can also be expensive, Tech Review notes. It does the math to place the cost of managing sickle cell to be an annual $10,704 for children and $34,266 for adults, while the cost of treating hemophilia is be about 155,136 a year and the management of some cancers like multiple myeloma came in at $440,000 a year.

Michael Werner from the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine also tells Tech Review that if gene therapy can prevent hospital visits and related costs, it could be a cost-effective way of treating someone.

The Times also noted recently that gene therapies are leading some drug companies to consider alternate payment schemes, such as installments or prices that are based on how well the treatment worked.