KHN Morning Briefing

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Drug’s $475K Cost Highlights Pricing Problems With Unique, Breakthrough Therapies

“We need a new payment model,” Steve Miller, chief medical officer at Express Scripts Holding Co., said while criticizing Novartis' new drug.

Bloomberg: Novartis's $475,000 Price On Cancer Therapy Meets Resistance
The $475,000 price tag on Novartis AG’s latest breakthrough cancer therapy came under fire from one of the biggest managers of drug costs in the U.S., underscoring the challenges the Swiss drugmaker will face in promoting the potential blockbuster. The cost of the leukemia treatment, called Kymriah, is “dramatically higher” than other such complex treatments, and the health-care system isn’t ready to pay for it, Steve Miller, chief medical officer at Express Scripts Holding Co., said Thursday in a blog post on his company’s website. Gene therapies like Novartis’s are targeted at a small number of patients and typically used just once, meaning that drug companies have limited chances to recoup their investment. (Lauerman and Paton, 9/22)

In other pharmaceutical news —

Bloomberg: FDA Warns Doctors After 19 Deaths On Intercept Liver Drug
Nineteen patients died after taking a liver-disease drug from Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc., the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said, warning doctors about risks from a product that the company is seeking to make into a blockbuster. Shares of the drugmaker sank 24.9 percent to $73.70 at 4:00 p.m. in New York, the company’s biggest loss since November 2014. (Langreth, 9/21)

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