UnitedHealthcare has reversed course and approved coverage for Novartis' gene therapy Zolgensma, Washington Post reported.
The drug, which carries a one-time cost of $2.1 million, was approved by the FDA in May for use in most children under 2 with spinal muscular atrophy.
UnitedHealth Group chief medical officer Richard Migliori asserted that the decisions were based on clinical evidence and not public pressure.
"If a child is symptomatic, we don't care what type they have," Migliori remarked, adding "if they have the genetic mutation, they are getting covered up until age 2."
Migliori also stressed that the firm did not consider the cost of Zolgensma in its decisions.
Meanwhile, Novartis, which gained rights to the drug as part of its $8.7-billion takeover of AveXis last year, said that the price of the drug reflects its long-term value in permanently stopping nerve loss.
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