Trending News Today: Groundbreaking Leukemia Gene Therapy Carries $475k Price Tag


Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

Yesterday, the FDA approved tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah), the first gene therapy to treat drug-resistant leukemia. While this was a groundbreaking approval, the therapy will cost $475,000 for 1 treatment, according to Kaiser Health News. However, Novartis also reported that tisagenlecleucel will cost nothing if patients do not benefit within 1 month of treatment. It is estimated that only 600 patients per year would be eligible for the therapy due to how rare the condition is, according to the article.

Officials in Houston are beginning to address health and environmental risks caused by the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey, including chemicals, sewage, debris, and waste, The New York Times reported. Flooded sewers may cause cholera, typhoid, and other infectious diseases, while lead, arsenic, and other toxic compounds are likely being leaked into the water. Officials report that the drinking water system and sewer system are still intact, but they are recommending that individuals avoid floodwaters to prevent disease, according to the article.

Some counties are sending their patients to top-performing providers who charge less for routine operations than local providers, according to California Healthline. Santa Barbara County, CA, has taken this approach and saved 50% on 4 surgeries since starting the program in 2016. This program, which is voluntary for employees, typically receives the discounts due to bundled payments, including tests, physician fees, and hospital care, according to the article.

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