New gene therapy fetches $1.8m for one shot, among costly 'miracle cures'

Scientists have been making major breakthroughs in the treatment of genetic disorders.

Gene therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent genetic disease.

This medical advancement will soon allow doctors to treat a disorder by inserting a gene into a patient's cells instead of using drugs or surgery.

Pharmaceutical companies worldwide are racing to be at the forefront of gene therapy with single-dose treatments.

But potential genetic cures don't come cheap, with some costing as much as $1,8 million (R26,84 million) per person for a single treatment.

Bloomberg healthcare journalist James Paton conducted an investigative report into the high cost of a one-shot therapy used to treat a condition called beta thalassemia.

Beta thalassemia is a genetic disorder that hampers red blood cells’ ability to carry oxygen through the body.

Many patients with condition need regular blood transfusions to survive.

Paton says the $1,8 million price tag presents a serious challenge to the hope given by these genetic treatments.

He adds that more research is needed into these treatments which could place major pressure on healthcare systems.

After decades of research, there's now a treatment that can be given to patients a single time.

James Paton, Healthcare journalist - Bloomberg

This one-shot therapy can potentially deliver a lifetime of benefits.

James Paton, Healthcare journalist - Bloomberg

Some of these treatments are getting approval from the Food and Drug Administration in the United States and the European Medicines Agency as well.

James Paton, Healthcare journalist - Bloomberg

There could be 10 to 20 of these cell and gene therapies getting approval every year.

James Paton, Healthcare journalist - Bloomberg

Listen to the discussion for more details:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : New gene therapy fetches $1.8m for one shot, among costly 'miracle cures'


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