Novartis Lottery for Expensive Drug- World’s Most Expensive Drug for Free
Novartis, a pharmaceutical company has planned to set up a lottery system for giving away the most expensive drug in the world for free to children.
Zolgensma is a drug for spinal muscular atrophy, a rare genetic disorder that causes children to lose control over their muscles and its treatment costs up to $2.1.
Novartis lottery system for this expensive drug is called a managed access program. For babies under the age of two, living in countries where Zolgensma is not approved, this program would establish a bi-weekly draw in the lottery system, but patient advocates are concerned that picking “lucky” people isn’t the best way to do things.
In this program, until the children are no longer medically eligible, they will simply stay in the program if they are not chosen.
TreatSMA, the British advocacy group describes the program as akin to pick “lucky” kids for receiving the life-saving drug over others and has expressed concern with the Novartis lottery program for the expensive drug.
The group said in a statement that, ” We are yet to be convinced that meeting the unmet medical needs in this severe disease through a health lottery system is an appropriate way or not.”
The subsidiary that developed the drug, AveXis, said that in the US, the drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in May and since then the growing demand for this drug outside the US lead to the initiation of this program.
In around three dozen companies, Novartis is still trying to get the drug registered.
AveXis said that with the advice of a “bioethics advisory committee”, this program was created and the manufacturing constraints are managed. On January 2, the dosage lottery is set to start.
For spinal muscular atrophy, only two drugs are approved in the US. Zolgensma and the other drug is called Spinraza, which needs recurring doses. For the first year, the first costs $750,000 and for each following year, it costs $375,000. Now with this program, such an expensive drug can be got for free through this new lottery system.
Author : Prathibha HC