The Atlantic

When a Treatment Costs $450,000 or More, It Had Better Work

Some biotech companies are offering a new way to soften the shock of drug prices: Insurers pay only if the patient improves.
Source: Franck Fife / AFP / Getty

Biotech companies aren’t just inventing dazzling new treatments. They’re also getting creative about how to charge for them. Bluebird Bio, a Boston-based firm that’s developing a gene therapy to cure the inherited blood disorder thalassemia, in January that it would divide its yet-to-be-released price into five yearly installment payments. The company estimates the value of the treatment at $2.1 million a patient, and hints that the price will be “considerably below” to “just below” that figure. After covering the first installment, the insurer can wait to see if a patient improves before continuing

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