Japan to Set Price of SMA Drug Zolgensma at 167 M. Yen

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, May 12 (Jiji Press)--Japan's health ministry is planning to set the price of Novartis AG's spinal muscular atrophy drug Zolgensma at about 167 million yen, or some 1.55 million dollars, under the country's health insurance system, informed sources said Tuesday.

Zolgensma will be the most expensive drug covered by health insurance in Japan. Insurance coverage for the drug is expected to be approved at a general meeting of the Central Social Insurance Medical Council, an advisory panel to the health minister, on Wednesday.

The one-time gene therapy medicine is used for SMA patients under two years old. The rare disease, which leads to muscle weakness through a decrease in motor nerve cells, is caused mainly by genetic abnormalities.

In Japan, the drug is expected to be administered to around 25 patients annually after it comes under insurance coverage.

In recent years, a series of expensive drugs have been approved for being covered by insurance in Japan, adding pressure on its health insurance finance.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press