Price Tag on Gene Therapy for Rare Form of Blindness: $850K
WASHINGTON (AP) — A first-of-its kind genetic treatment for blindness will cost $850,000, less than the $1 million price tag that had been expected, but still among the most expensive medicines in the world. Spark Therapeutics said Wednesday it decided on the lower price for Luxturna after hearing concerns from health insurers about their ability to cover the injectable treatment. Luxturna is still significantly more expensive than nearly every other drug on the global market, including two other gene therapies approved earlier last year in the U.S. Approved last month, Luxturna, is the nation's first gene therapy for an inherited disease. It can improve the vision of those with a rare form of blindness that is estimated to affect just a few thousand people in the U.S. Luxturna is an injection — one for each eye — that replaces a defective gene in the retina, tissue at the back of the eye that converts light into electric signals that produce vision. The therapy will cost $425,000 per injection. The treatment is part of an emerging field of medicine that could produce dozens of new gene-targeting medications in the next few years.