Gene therapy drug Kymriah should be publicly covered if manufacturer drops price, report recommends - (The Globe and Mail via NewsPoints Desk)

  • An expert panel convened by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) concluded that Novartis' gene therapy Kymriah should be publicly covered provided the company lowers its price, The Globe and Mail reported.

  • "[The expert panel] came to the conclusion that this is a very promising therapy," said Harindra Wijeysundera, CADTH's vice president of medical devices and clinical interventions, adding "given that, [the panel] tried to balance that condition with the fact that the evidence base does have uncertainty with it – the evidence base is still new."

  • In its analysis, the panel estimated that covering Kymriah for children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) would cost Canadian governments $25.6 million in its first three years, while the cost for covering adults with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma would total $387.4 million over the same period.

  • The panel found that the CAR-T therapy would be cost-effective for ALL but not lymphoma at its current price.

  • Novartis is currently in pricing talks with Cancer Care Ontario, which is negotiating the price of Kymriah for all provinces.

  • "The price for Kymriah is currently being finalised," a Novartis spokeswoman stated, continuing "we are exploring innovative ways we can support health system stakeholders including innovative pricing models, early access mechanisms, risk-sharing with payers and patient and caregiver support."

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