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Sticker Shock From Breakthrough Therapies Pressures Medicare (Corrected)

June 3, 2019, 9:44 AMUpdated: June 3, 2019, 2:55 PM

Medicare’s overtime deliberations on whether to cover an expensive gene therapy is serving as a valuable dry run for the coming launch of dozens of costly breakthrough treatments.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will soon decide whether to cover CAR T-cell therapy, a novel treatment for leukemia and lymphoma that can cost nearly $1 million per patient. It involves extracting and then genetically engineering a patient’s immune system T-cells in a laboratory, multiplying the modified cells, and then injecting them back into the body to attack cancerous cells.

The sticker shock is a jarring wake-up call for...

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