Thanks to innovations in biomedicine, Novartis AG recently received approval for a new cancer drug which is specifically targeted at patients suffering from certain types of leukemia. Unlike other drugs that take several years to receive FDA approval,Saar Pilosof says this particular drug received approval well ahead of schedule. This development opens the door for the reduction in the approval times for similar types of biomedicines in the pipeline. The cancer treatment is said to be very expensive, however, with a price tag of $475,000.
This particular drug is among several new innovations that make it possible to completely reprogram a patient’s own cells so that cancer cells are attacked rather than fueled. Although the drugs present a potential solution to a growing problem, there is the issue of how patients will be able to afford this new drug as well as the issue of how to decide which patients will receive the treatment. So far, it has been established that patients who are covered under certain government programs will have the government cover the costs on their behalf. However, Novartis will only receive compensation for the drug if the patient shows signs of improvement within a single month of use.
- One of the reasons why these types of biomedicine drugs cost so much is the complex manufacturing process that they have to go through. In addition, this particular cancer treatment and others like it only require the patient to take it once. There is no need for ongoing treatment with this drug and therefore, the developers have sought a reasonable way of being compensated for their efforts. Despite these explanations and justifications, there is growing concern over whether these innovations are too costly to be worth the price. Only time can answer that question.