Faced With Paying For Pricey Gene-Therapy Treatments, Insurers Start Thinking Outside The Box
The expensive new therapies can be life-changing, but working out how to pay for them has become a pain point for the health industry. “Employers are saying, ‘I just can’t afford it,’” said CVS Health Chief Medical Officer Troy Brennan. In other pharmaceutical news: drugmakers' try to gain traction for next-generation sequencing but the going is slow; and Pfizer gets fast-track approval for a rare lung cancer drug.
The Wall Street Journal:
Insurers Pitch New Ways To Pay For Million-Dollar Therapies
Insurers are scrambling to blunt the expense of new drugs that can carry prices of more than $2 million per treatment, offering new setups aimed at making the cost of gene therapies more manageable for employers. Cigna Corp. announced Thursday a new program that allows employers and insurers to pay per-month fees for a service that will cover the cost of gene therapies and manage their use. CVS Health Corp. says it plans to offer a new layer of coverage specifically for gene therapies, which would handle employers’ costs above a certain threshold. (Walker and Wilde Mathews, 9/5)
Inside Drugmakers' Strategy To Boost Cancer Medicines With 'Lazarus Effect'
In the halls of MD Anderson Cancer Center, the drug Vitrakvi is known for having a "Lazarus effect" in some patients because it can reverse late-stage cancer that has defied all other treatment options. Developed by Eli Lilly and Co's Loxo Oncology and marketed by German drugmaker Bayer, it fights a rare genetic mutation that appears in less than 1% of solid tumors, regardless of where they appear in the body. (9/6)
Novartis Joins Pfizer With FDA Fast-Track Tag For Lung Cancer Hopeful
Novartis has nabbed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's breakthrough therapy designation for its experimental medicine capmatinib as it joins Pfizer in the race to treat a tough-to-treat mutated lung cancer type. Novartis aims to file for U.S. approval for oral capmatinib later this year as a first-line treatment for patients with metastatic MET exon14 skipping-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the Basel-based company said on Friday. (9/6)