The Most Expensive Medication In the World

In 2019, the FDA approved a gene therapy for a rare childhood disorder called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), which is caused by a defective gene that destroys the nerves that control the muscles. While the drug Zolgensma can save the recipient’s life with a one-time treatment, it costs $2.12 million per patient. There are currently around 700 patients eligible for the treatment, and roughly 30 babies are born each month with the disease. Novartis set the price, but offers insurers the ability to pay $425,000 a year for five years. Zolgensma’s price tag is just the most extreme example of how drug prices are draining resources from society.