The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will slightly increase coverage for expensive CAR-T cell therapies.

CMS, which runs the federal government’s healthcare plan for seniors, issued a proposed rule raising its maximum “new technology add-on payment” (NTAP) from 50% of estimated costs to 65%, which would increase reimbursement to $242,450 from the current $186,500.

While this is good news for patients, it does not cover the full cost of the currently approved therapies Yescarta (Gilead) and Kymriah (Novartis) which are priced between $373,000 and $475,000.

CAR-T cell therapies are not yet approved for use in multiple myeloma patients. There are a number in development including bb21217 and MCARH171 in Phase I clinical development, JCARH125 and LCAR-B38M are being evaluated in ongoing Phase I/II clinical trials, and bb2121 is at the most advanced development stage, with a pivotal Phase II study underway. 2-6


  1. Beasley D. (2019, April 22). Medicare offers to partially raise payment for cancer CAR-Ts. Retrieved from:
  2. 2. Study of bb21217 in Multiple Myeloma. Accessed 18 April, 2019.
  3. Study Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of JCARH125 in Subjects With Relapsed and/or Refractory Multiple Myeloma (EVOLVE). Accessed 18 April, 2019.
  4. BCMA Targeted CAR T Cells With or Without Lenalidomide for the Treatment of Multiple Myeloma. Accessed 18 April, 2019.
  5. Efficacy and Safety Study of bb2121 in Subjects With Relapsed and Refractory Multiple Myeloma (KarMMa) (bb2121). Accessed April 18, 2019.
  6. LCAR-B38M-02 Cells in Treating Relapsed/Refractory (R/R) Multiple Myeloma (LEGEND-2). Accessed 18 April, 2019.
Featured, Myeloma News Medicare to raise reimbursement for CAR-T cell therapies