Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan On The Price Of Gene Therapies: 'It's A Challenge We Have To Solve' - (Forbes via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan cautioned that the healthcare system will have to grapple with how to best price and cover gene therapies, Forbes reported Thursday.

  • Novartis expanded its presence in the gene therapy sector via its $8.7-billion purchase of AveXis in May, although Narasimhan indicated that he wanted to buy the company sooner.

  • "When I first read the [NEJM] paper in 2017 I wanted to buy the company," Narasimhan remarked, adding "if I had done that it would have been a lot cheaper, but it didn’t work out at that point in time."

  • A recent report indicated that a gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy acquired in the AveXis deal could be cost-effective at $4 million to $5 million per year.

  • "The challenge is when we have 10 or 15 of these or maybe 20 or 30, how is the system going to deal with the annual cost," the CEO asked, continuing "and I think the answer has to be a healthcare system change where we can actually amortise these payments over time, which we're prepared to do."

  • "It's a challenge we have to solve because the alternative of not bringing these breakthrough therapies forward and having cures—I don't think is acceptable," Narasimhan stated.

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