Top 10 Most Expensive Medical Treatments



Top 10 Most Expensive Medical Treatments

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut
Health comes at a price. For this list, we're looking at medicine or treatments approved in the United States that cost an arm and a leg. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Most Expensive Medical Treatments.

Special thanks to our user boxtroll for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Most+Expensive+Medical+Treatments.
Script written by Mark Sammut

Top 10 Most Expensive Medical Treatments

Health comes at a price. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Expensive Medical Treatments.

For this list, we’re looking at medicine or treatments approved in the United States that cost an arm and a leg.

#10: Naglazyme

Also known as Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome, mucopolysaccharidosis type VI causes organs and muscles to become inflamed, leading to skeletal abnormalities that can hinder the ability to walk. If it’s not treated, patients aren’t expected to last beyond adolescence. Enzyme replacement therapy with Naglazyme helps ease some of the pain, but the cost associated with it could result in bankruptcy. Approved in 2005, the annual cost for this drug treatment for MPS VI can go into the $400,000 range. Developed as an orphan drug specifically for MPS VI, the market for the product is incredibly small - however the drug is of utmost importance for anyone with the condition.

#9: Kidney Transplant

When discussing transplants, the price has to include more than just the surgery. Nothing is free in this world, and this mantra extends to exploratory lab tests, post-surgery rehabilitation, and any anti-rejection drug that might be required. At $262,000 for the year surrounding the procedure, a kidney transplant is actually one of the cheaper procedures of this ilk, largely due to the operation not requiring the old organ to be removed. However, the surgery will still put a considerable strain on anyone's health insurance. Kidney disease can be caused by a number of contributing factors, making this particularly procedure relatively common.

#8: Elaprase

Hunter syndrome is a mostly male-only inherited disorder that starts to take hold during a person's formative years. Resulting from an enzyme deficiency, the condition affects every organ in the body and patients suffering from the more severe variant are not expected to survive longer than 15 years. While not quite a miracle drug, "Elaprase" supplements a replacement for the missing enzyme and helps ease the disease's symptoms. Administered on a weekly basis to maintain the body's basic functionality, "Elaprase" could easily cost half-a-million per year.

#7: Soliris

An orphan drug refers to any treatment that is designed for a rare disease; due to the small pool of clientele, the price tends to be excruciatingly high to cover costs of research and development. Diseases like PNH damage a person's red blood cells due to certain proteins being over-active; Soliris blocks the release of this substance to prevent any further harm. Prior to this drug's approval, blood transfusions were the only treatment for this type of anemia, but Soliris provides another viable route for patients. With a single dose costing at least $18,000, annual treatment averages around half-a-million dollars.

#6: Liver Transplant

Prior to even stepping foot in an operating theater, patients suffering from liver disease would have already been billed for hospital stays, laboratory tests, and any medical specialists who had to be consulted. For anyone not covered by health insurance, the average cost for the whole package – up to the first six months of follow-up care – would require nearly $600,000, and that is without taking into consideration whether any long-term anti-rejection drugs are needed. Prices also vary depending on the liver transplant centers, so it might be worth doing some research.

#5: Luxturna

Can you put a price tag on a child's vision? Well, according to Spark Therapeutics Inc., $425,000 per eye is just about fair. A rare genetic disease that causes severe vision loss or blindness at birth, Leber's congenital amaurosis is an eye disorder that only affects around 2000 people in the United States. Approved in 2017 by the FDA, "Luxturna" is a one-time procedure that promises to drastically improve a person's life; however, question marks remain on the therapy's long-term benefits and whether the price is appropriate or not.

#4: Bone Marrow Transplant

A highly complicated procedure that brings together many medical experts, the operation's bill varies depending on a number of factors. Bone Marrow transplants can be carried out using the patient's own stem cells or that of a donating party, with the latter more than doubling the price. If the donor is not a matching sibling and the disease being treated is of a particularly advanced state, the overall cost could end up being around $800,000. The treatment is usually the first procedure prescribed after a diagnosis of leukemia or lymphoma.

#3: Lung Transplant

Among the most common medical conditions, lung disease can arise due to a number of conditions, with chronic bronchitis, asthma, and cystic fibrosis serving as the front-runners. If medication proves unsuccessful, patients are put on a transplant waiting list to receive one or two new organs. It should go without saying, but replacing both lungs is a tad more expensive, but the operation is expensive either way – starting at around $500,000. In extremely rare cases, a joint heart and lung transplant might be required, although this is seen as a last resort for those with less than two years left on the clock.

#2: Heart Transplant

The fact that a person's heart can be replaced is a testament to the staggering advancements made by the medical industry as a whole; unsurprisingly, the bill reflects the risk entailed by such a procedure. Open Heart Surgery is already one of the most expensive operations, but the going rate for a new ticker is just south of one million dollars and more than that if there are complications. If successful, the transplant allows the recipient's life to regain some degree of normality, with most patients expected to last for another ten years.

#1: Intestine Transplant

If organs were valued per inch, the intestine would surely be the most expensive. Caused by a number of digestive disorders, intestinal failure restricts the body's ability to absorb vital nutrients and electrolytes, forcing science to supplement mother nature's shortcoming by transferring the fluids via a catheter. Unfortunately, such a procedure comes with its fair share of complications and an intestine transplant may be the only solution. Costing well over a million dollars, this operation is incredibly risky and is solely employed in extreme situations.