How Much Money is a Child’s Life Worth?
Lethal diseases and their pricey medications and treatments have been a consistent point of ethical issue in the United States, and the world as a whole. To fight a disease which is genetically caused, or whose origin is unknown, is difficult to do. And when treatments for said diseases finally are uncovered, their price tags are nothing short of jaw- dropping. Spinal muscular atrophy is just one example of these fatal diseases. As a genetically induced disease, SMA usually causes difficulty in moving limbs of the body, as well as swallowing food or even talking. Death ensues in most patients by the age of two.
And so the debate begins. How much money is a child’s life worth? When a medication would save a child’s life, is it wrong for this medication to cost its worth? For those who suffer with spinal muscular atrophy, genetic treatment for the disease, named Zolgensma, costs $2.1 million. And because many insurance companies refuse to cover costs for the treatment, families of these children with SMA are struggling to pay the ludicrous costs. Frustrations with the treatment continued when it was revealed that, “when agency officials said that Novartis had given regulators manipulated or mishandled data as part of its Zolgensma application and that the company waited until after the drug was approved to report the problem.” Questions of the treatment’s safety and effectiveness arose in response to these allegations. Why pay such vast amounts of money for a treatment that’s manipulated data in order to be approved more quickly, especially when this treatment is the only option for those who suffer from SMA.
To charge so much for life-saving treatment causes ethical debate of which the worth of a child’s life comes into question. It is unfair to put such a high price tag on treatment which could save a child’s life. Besides that, government incentives should not be placed in order to produce more of these treatments and medications, especially when nothing is done to reduce the cost for patients. Is a child’s life worth the politicking between companies? The answer should always be no.