When a Treatment Costs $450,000 or More, It Had Better Work
April 23, 2019
(The Atlantic) – Bluebird is one of a handful of biotech firms that are trying to soften the sticker shock of new drugs and devices so that more insurance companies will agree to cover them. The premise: The insurers pay only if the drugs work. Known as value-based agreements, these deals are a departure from standard practice in American health care. They respond to a basic moral dilemma in the system: If insurers cover every possible treatment, the cost of coverage will skyrocket. But if insurers won’t pay for experimental drugs for uncommon diseases, those drugs may never be invented at all, or they’ll be available only to the richest patients.