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How High-Cost Specialty Drugs Impact California
KQED Radio

What’s behind the jaw-dropping cost of new “specialty drugs” like Orkambi, which has a sticker price of $259,000 per year for cystic fibrosis patients?

Orkambi, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last July, is expected to take almost $36 million from the state’s general fund this fiscal year and next. Seventy-four Californians with health coverage under the Department of Health Care Services are estimated to receive the drug this year, and next year, 220 people will benefit, some of whom may be the same patients as this year. That does not include any discounts the state may receive from drug manufacturers.