A new and first-of-its-kind gene therapy treatment for inherited blindness, called Luxturna, was approved by the FDA last month. The groundbreaking medication, however, comes with the staggering cost of USD 850,000, making it one of the most expensive treatments in the world, and placing it far beyond the means of most patients.
Spark Therapeutics, the company releasing the drug, had initially planned to sell Luxturna for 1 million USD but lowered the price after health insurers expressed concern over their ability to cover the cost of the injectable treatment. Despite the small drop in price, Luxturna is still significantly more expensive than almost every other medication on the global market, including two separate gene therapy treatments approved last year by the FDA. Luxturna is the first gene therapy that treats an inherited condition. It has proven to improve vision for those with a rare form of inherited blindness that is estimated to affect less than 2,000 people in the US.