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A lab technician opens a cryogenic container at the Paoli-Calmettes Institute cancer care center in Marseille, France. Photo: Gerars Julien/AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of potentially revolutionary gene therapies are in the development pipeline, but we haven't yet figured out how to pay for them, Bloomberg reports.

Details: These drugs are expected to launch with extremely high prices, which are partially justified by the fact that they're designed as cures for diseases that are currently treated long-term. But that doesn't mean we know how to pay these huge sums in one sitting.

What they're saying: Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis, said that one possible solution could be installment payments, per Bloomberg.

  • The company plans to use installments for Zolgensma, a gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy that's expected to get approval soon.
  • Analysts expect its price to be $2 million, the first multimillion-dollar drug in the U.S.

The big picture: The FDA expects to approve as many as 20 cell- and gene-therapy drugs each year by 2025. Many of these drugs could have list prices in the millions.

  • “If we get to a point where these therapies become available not only in very rare conditions but in substantial patient populations, multimillion-dollar prices are not going to be in any way sustainable,” Nick Crabb, scientific-affairs director at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, told Bloomberg.

Go deeper: The drug pricing debate is stuck in the past

Go deeper

30 mins ago - World

Iran's nuclear dilemma: Ramp up now or wait for Biden

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The world is waiting to see whether Iran will strike back at Israel or the U.S. over the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran's military nuclear program.

Why it matters: Senior Iranian officials have stressed that Iran will take revenge against the perpetrators, but also respond by continuing Fakhrizadeh’s legacy — the nuclear program. The key question is whether Iran will accelerate that work now, or wait to see what President-elect Biden puts on the table.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

U.K. first nation to clear Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

A health care worker during the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial by Pfizer and BioNTech in Ankara, Turkey, in October. Photo: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it's approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which "will be made available across the U.K. from next week."

Why it matters: The U.K. has beaten the U.S. to become the first Western country to give emergency approval for a vaccine that's found to be 95% effective with no serious side effects against a virus that's killed nearly 1.5 million people globally.

3 hours ago - World

Biden says he won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.