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Novartis' $305,000 cancer drug covered by Japan health insurance

Leukemia treatment raises concerns over financial strain on system

Novartis' Kymriah CAR-T cell therapy for treating leukemia patients (Photo courtesy of Novartis)

TOKYO -- Japan's national medical insurance system was given the go-ahead on Wednesday to cover leukemia treatment using expensive Kymriah from Swiss drugmaker Novartis.

The Central Social Insurance Medical Council, a panel of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, approved coverage of the treatment, which costs 33.49 million yen ($305,455).

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