The first gene therapy in the U.S. now has a price tag: $850,000 for the one-time treatment, or, more specifically, $425,000 per eye for a retinal disorder. The price is for Spark Therapeutics' Luxturna, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in December to treat a rare, inherited retinal disease that can lead to blindness. The Philadelphia-based biotechnology company also revealed Wednesday morning a set of payment and access programs, including tying payments to how well the therapy works and exploring payment by installment.
The treatment is delivered just once, a facet of gene therapy that poses unique pricing questions in an industry fueled by steady payments for chronic therapies.
"It's wildly expensive but, to be very frank, I think they've priced it what I'll call responsibly," said Dr. Steve Miller, chief medical officer of pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, which is partnering with Spark on distribution and specialty pharmacy services for Luxturna. "The product is just phenomenally innovative, and we've been talking about gene therapy for over 20 years. We're now at the threshold of having gene therapy reaching patients."