Friday, January 05, 2018

Luxturna Is An Apt Name For An $850,000 Drug...,


technologyreview |  The $850,000 price of a newly approved gene therapy for blindness stunned patient advocates, but the sticker shock could quickly wear off.

Many costly drugs need to be purchased year after year. But gene therapies are given only once, with potentially permanent effects.

Mark Trusheim, who directs MIT’s New Drug Development Paradigms program, says gene therapies are moving medicine from a model of “renting” treatments to one of “buying” long-term health improvements.

“The challenge is like going from being an apartment renter to a condo buyer and being shocked at [the] purchase price,” he says.

Philadelphia-based Spark Therapeutics said yesterday that it planned to charge $425,000 per eye for Luxturna, the first gene therapy for an inherited disease to reach the U.S. market.

David Mitchell, founder and president of the advocacy group Patients for Affordable Drugs, is concerned that the treatment will be out of reach for people with high-deductible health plans and would bankrupt those without insurance.