FDA okays $2 million drug, most expensive ever

By LINDA A. JOHNSONHealth CareAssociated Press

AARP: Brand-name drugs cost 18 times more than generics

AARP Health Services Research Director Leigh Purvis discusses why drug prices are so high.

U.S. regulators have approved the most expensive medicine ever, a therapy meant to cure a disorder that rapidly destroys a baby's muscle control and kills most within a couple of years.

Continue Reading Below

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
NVSNOVARTIS AG93.56-0.70-0.74%

The one-time gene therapy developed by Novartis, Zolgensma (zohl-JEN-smah), will cost $2.125 million. It treats a rare condition called spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, which strikes about 400 babies born in the U.S. each year.

MORE FROM FOXBUSINESS.COM...

The therapy, given in a one-hour infusion, was approved for children under age 2 and will be available within two weeks.

Out-of-pocket costs for patients will vary based on insurance coverage.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX BUSINESS APP

“If you have a medication that can treat that illness, and not just treat it Maria, cure this illness, that’s magical, that’s amazing," Dr. Mikhail Varshavski  know as "Dr. Mike" told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo in a recent interview. "We are making great progress" he added.

Novartis said it will let insurers make payments over five years and will give partial rebates if Zolgensma doesn't work. Company executives said that financial assistance will be available.