Jan 17, 2020

A new multimillion dollar drug

A lab tech thaws a blood bag before genetically modifying a patient's immune cells. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP via Getty Images

BioMarin Pharmaceutical is eyeing a $2 million–$3 million price tag for its hemophilia gene therapy if it's approved, which could make it the world's most expensive drug, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: It's a good reminder that today's pipeline is likely to cause a giant shock to the health care system over the next few years.

  • The company's CEO said insurers have indicated that they're OK with the price range.
  • The most expensive drug in the world right now is Zolgensma, a $2.1 million-dollar gene therapy that initially ran into some coverage problems.

BioMarin argues that the lifetime cost of treating hemophilia is $25 million, making the company's gene therapy a relative bargain.

  • Yes, but: There have been some concerns that the treatment won't last for a lifetime.

Go deeper: Health care industry grapples with staggering gene therapy costs

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Zolgensma's lucrative Q4

Novartis said yesterday that Zolgensma — the gene therapy that's the most expensive drug in the world — brought in $186 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, STAT reports.

Why it matters: It suggests that the drug's enormous price tag isn't blocking patients from accessing it, although the costs are ultimately borne through premiums and by taxpayers.

Go deeperArrowJan 30, 2020

Utah becomes 19th state to ban conversion therapy for minors

An LGBTQ pride flag at a Union United Methodist Church in Boston on Jan. 5, 2020. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Utah on Tuesday became the 19th state to ban conversion therapy for minors, though the state's ban does not apply to religious counselors, parents or grandparents, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Utah is one of the most conservative states in the U.S. to pass legislation banning conversion therapy on minors in some form.

Go deeperArrowJan 22, 2020

Private insurance is health care's pot of gold

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Private health insurance is a conduit for exploding health care spending, and there's no end in sight.

The big picture: Most politicians defend this status quo, even though prices are soaring. And as the industry's top executives and lobbyists gathered this week in San Francisco, some nodded to concerns over affordability — but then went on to tell investors how they plan to keep the money flowing.

Go deeperArrowJan 17, 2020