Drug firm Spark Therapeutics is charging $850,000 for its new blindness treatment

Courtney Goldsmith
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Pharmaceuticals firm Spark Therapeutics has said it will charge a hefty $850,000, for its new drug to treat a rare form of blindness, the highest list price of any drug.

The price tag of $425,000 per eye actually comes in below analysts' expectations of around $1m, and Spark said it would offer alternative payment arrangements for health insurers to address concerns about its price. The therapy is also designed to only be given once.

The firm said the price reflected "stakeholder considerations we have learned about these past months" as well as the company's need to "build a sustainable company that addresses the unmet needs of patients with genetic diseases”.

Spark's therapy, Luxturna, was made to treat a genetic retinal disease which affects between 1,000 and 2,000 people in the US. The US Food and Drug Administration approved the treatment last month.

Although Spark’s Luxturna is the most expensive drug, the overall cost for patients and insurers may be less than for other expensive drugs which have to be taken multiple times.

Shares in the Nasdaq-listed company rose around two per cent to $54.37 at the time of writing.

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