Intended for healthcare professionals


Health ministers condemn Novartis lottery for Zolgensma, the world’s most expensive drug

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 12 February 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m580
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Novartis has held the first draw to choose four babies who will receive its one-shot treatment for the genetic disease spinal muscular atrophy, Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec), amid criticism of its lottery programme from patient groups and EU health ministers.

Priced in the United States at $2.1m (£1.6m; €1.9m), the most expensive drug course of treatment ever, Zolgensma is not yet approved elsewhere. In December the company announced a plan to give away 50 treatments in other countries over the next six months, the recipients to be chosen randomly from among applicants every two weeks.

Recipients must be …

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