Some cancer patients are choosing experimental treatments rather than approved CAR-T therapies, Reuters reports.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved both Novartis' Kymriah and Kite Pharmaceuticals' Yescarta in 2017 for acute lymphoblastic leukemia and large B-cell lymphoma, respectively. But the treatments come with high price tags — $475,000 for Kymriah and $373,000 for Yescarta — that insurers aren't sure how to handle.
And this, Reuters says, may have contributed to their slow adoption. It reports that Novartis has posted $58 million in Kymriah sales for the second quarter, while Gilead, which owns Kite, is expected to announce $110 million in Yescarta sales. But Medicare in the US is still figuring out how to pay for the treatments and private insurers are largely doing so for cases individually rather than developing coverage standards, it adds.
A number of lymphoma patients who are undergoing CAR-T treatment, meanwhile, are enrolled in clinical trials, Reuters says, noting that that's unusual, as patients typically try approved treatments before experimental ones.