National / Science & Health

Japan insurance council greenlights coverage for gene therapy drug to combat clogged arteries

JIJI

The Central Social Insurance Medical Council on Wednesday approved the first health insurance system coverage for a gene therapy drug.

Collategene, which is given through muscle injection to patients suffering from clogged arteries, will join the list of drugs covered by the system on Sept. 4, with its government-set price listed at ¥600,360 per dose.

With the approval by the council, which advises the health minister, many patients will pay only 30 percent of the costs. Expenses exceeding a certain level will be covered by a separate system that is designed to ease patients’ burdens from heavy medical costs.

The drug is expected to be effective in treating chronic arterial occlusion as it includes genes that create proteins that regenerate blood vessels.

Sales of the drug are expected to reach about ¥1.2 billion if the number of patients totals some 1,000 a year.