EXCLUSIVE-Novartis pitches discounts on pricey gene therapy for deadly muscle disorder - (Yahoo!Finance via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Novartis is offering discounts on its gene therapy Zolgensma in exchange for assurances that insurers will cover the therapy, as reported Yahoo!News Friday.

  • Novartis has suggested that the drug would be cost-effective at $5 million, while insurers are seeking a lower price, in line with an Institute for Clinical and Economic Review report indicating that the therapy would be cost-effective at $900 000.

  • "We are very much interested in making sure that payers (support) newborn screening, that they establish fast turnaround on coverage decisions, and that they have specific policies that cover gene therapy for SMA," remarked Dave Lennon, head of Novartis' AveXis unit.

  • "As we negotiate discounts, et cetera, with payers, and the contracts with those payers, we're trying to make sure they put those elements in place," Lennon continued.

  • Lennon stated that Novartis expects to have agreements in place with insurers covering 30 percent of the 160 million Americans who use commercial insurance within 30 days after approval of the treatment.

  • Analysts expect Zolgensma to generate $350 million in revenue this year, with sales surging to $2 billion by 2024.

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