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Novartis wins Medicaid approval for new sickle cell drug in key US states

Novartis AG (NOVN.S) has secured Medicaid coverage for a pricey new sickle cell disease therapy in two U.S. states just weeks after winning U.S. approval, following an early campaign to convince local officials of its value, according to a company executive and a Reuters review of public filings.

The approvals from the Florida and Alabama Medicaid health programs for the poor and disabled mark exceptionally fast acceptance for the treatment, which can cost up to $113,000 annually for an individual patient, excluding discounts, said Ameet Mallik, who heads the Swiss drugmaker’s U.S. oncology division.