It’s no secret that healthcare in America costs a fortune. But no one saw this coming. A new drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy in children less than 2 years old has it hit the market. Good news, right? But, it costs $2 million
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) validated the sale of the new drug despite its exuberant cost. The news was released by the Swiss laboratory Novartis which released a statement on the subject Friday, May 24th.
The drug in question? Zolgensma, which allows gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy. It costs exactly $ 2.125 million. The pathology in question was hitherto incurable. It is a neurodegenerative disease caused by a defective gene that results in muscle atrophy.
When a baby is born with spinal muscular atrophy, he or she loses his or her vital reflexes little by little. Swallowing, breathing, walking and speech all become impossible as time passes. Life expectancy does not generally exceed 2 years. The new drug treats this disease in a single dose against other, longer treatments.
These other drugs, which pre-exist Zolgensma, would cost even more according to the Novartis laboratory. Recently, Spinraza was developed by Biogen, which costs $ 750,000 in the first year and 350,000 in the following years. In any case, the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy is extremely expensive, in a country where there is very little social security system.