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How much does Tecartus cost?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on April 26, 2024.

Official answer


Tecartus costs $373,000 as a one time CAR-T immunotherapy cancer treatment. Most people do not pay for this medicine themselves. It is a personalized medicine engineered from a patient’s own white blood cells. Costs may be covered by your insurance plan, patient assistance programs, or financial resources offered through the manufacturer.

There may be additional costs associated with CAR-T treatment including facility charges, administration fees, travel, overnight lodging and meal charges. CAR-T therapy must be given in authorized facility that may not be close to your house.

Why is it used?

Tecartus is approved to treat mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in adults, two different types of advanced blood cell cancers. These cancers have either returned (relapsed) or did not respond to previous treatment (refractory).

Tecartus (brexucabtagene autoleucel), from Kite Pharma, is a chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) immunotherapy given as a one-time intravenous (IV) infusion (into a vein).

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy that uses a patient’s own genetically modified T cells, a type of white blood cell, to find and kill cancer cells.

List of Approved CAR-T Cell Therapies in the U.S.

CAR-T cells therapies are approved by the FDA to treat various types of blood cancers such as leukemias, lymphomas and multiple myeloma.

Will my insurance pay for it?

Many private health insurance plans (like the one through your employer or bought through the Health Insurance Marketplace) will pay for CAR-T treatment, but it varies by plan benefits.

Check with your insurance plan to determine drug coverage for Tecartus treatment and your eligibility. Your treatment team will also look into your insurance coverage as part of your consult. They can answer any questions you may have.

Medicare usually covers CAR-T cell therapy if you meet eligibility, and Medicaid coverage will vary by state. You may also have significant annual insurance deductibles, coinsurance or copays that you are responsible for.

After CAR-T treatment, patients must stay close by the hospital for about a month to be monitored. Patients may be in the hospital during this time, in an outpatient setting, or a mix of both. In addition, a caregiver needs to accompany the patient at all times to help monitor for side effects and provide support.

An entire CAR-T treatment process can take about 3 months to complete. You may have to pay additional for food, lodging, or travel while undergoing CAR-T treatment.

How can I get help paying for Tecartus?

You and your medical team can work with Kite Konnect, a manufacturer-sponsored resource for healthcare providers and patients. Support may include communication with insurance providers, reimbursement support and financial programs or nonprofits to help cover the cost and administration of Tecartus.

Kite Konnect can provide:

  • Help in finding an authorized treatment center
  • Logistics information on things like housing and transportation while away from home
  • Support for insurance questions and reimbursement
  • Patient enrollment for healthcare providers

In addition, Kite Konnect Case Managers are available to support healthcare providers and
patients throughout the CAR-T treatment journey. Contact Kite Konnect at 1-844-454-KITE (1-844-454-5483), Monday - Friday, 5 am to 6 pm PT or 8 am to 9 pm ET.

Related questions

Why is CAR-T therapy so expensive?

CAR-T immunotherapy like Tecartus is a personalized and complicated treatment engineered from a patient’s own white blood cells (T lymphocytes), which are modified to recognize and fight cancer cells. Each dose is made specifically for one person from their own cells. The technology involved is highly sophisticated and advanced.

Prices for CAR-T therapy are also a manufacturer business decision based on current competitor pricing, return on investment and other market factors.

CAR-T is used in patients who have usually failed other treatments. Some, but not all, patients are able to achieve remission, with signs of cancer disappearing for cancers that have not responded well to other therapies. However, CAR-T treatments have also been criticized for their cost, which is close to $490,000 for some recently approved agents.

Even though CAR T cell therapy is a one-time procedure, side effects can be challenging, serious and expensive, too.

Estimated costs of CAR-T therapy (per person):

  • CAR-T infusion: ranging from $373,000 to $490,000 per infusion
  • Facility and / or monitoring costs: $80,000 to $85,000
  • Treatment of serious side effects (e.g., cytokine release syndrome (CRS): $30,000 to $56,000

Additional costs include travel expenses, time off from work (patient and caregiver), lodging, and meals.

How is CAR-T given?

One of the reasons CAR-T is so costly is due to the in-depth procedures required to engineer and administer the treatment. Here's the general process:

  • Apheresis, a procedure to collect the patient's white blood cells, is performed in the hospital and the needed T-cells are isolated.
  • The T-cells are sent out to a laboratory where they are genetically engineered to construct a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) on the cell surface. Genes are inserted into the T-cells using an inactive virus which allows the CAR T-cell to activate, recognize, and kill the cancer cell.
  • CD19 or B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) are proteins on the surface of cancer cells that CAR-T can recognize. Different cancers have different antigens, and CAR-T is specific for these antigens.
  • The CAR T-cell is grown in the lab for several weeks to multiply the T cells into hundreds of millions cells. The cells are frozen and then sent to the hospital. During this time, the patient has received chemotherapy to help the CAR T-cells survive the patient's immune system.
  • The re-engineered CAR-T cell is then infused back into the patient so it can find the cancer proteins, attach to them, and kill the cancer-causing cells.

CAR-T can be associated with serious and life-threatening side effects, so it is important you talk to your doctor about these. Tecartus carries a Boxed Warning for Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) and neurologic toxicities, and is accompanied by a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS).

Related: Tecartus Side Effects and Warnings (in more detail)

This is not all the information you need to know about Tecartus (brexucabtagene autoleucel) for safe and effective use and does not take the place of your doctor’s directions. Review the full product information and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.


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