REFILE-Spark's planned price for Luxturna gene therapy for rare blindness too high: ICER

By

(Corrects name of ICER chief medical officer in 4th paragraph)

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) - The proposed price for Spark Therapeutics Inc's groundbreaking one-time gene therapy for a rare form of blindness is far too high, an independent U.S. nonprofit organization that evaluates clinical and cost effectiveness of new medicines said on Friday.

Spark has announced that its recently approved treatment, Luxturna, would carry a list price of $850,000, or $425,000 per eye, for a form of blindness that affects only 1,000 to 2,000 people in the United States.

Despite some creative payment strategies proposed by the company, such as stretching payment out over several years and refunds if the treatment fails to work, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), in a revised assessment, said Luxturna in most cases should cost about 75% less than the proposed price.

"We believe it's a scientific milestone, but that for the majority of patients being treated, the cost is not in line with what's considered cost effective," ICER Chief Medical Officer David Rind said in a telephone interview.

The report comes at a sensitive time for Spark as it negotiates payments and reimbursement with the government and private health insurers ahead of a planned March launch of the therapy.

Other companies developing similar gene therapies are also looking to Spark for indications on what pricing will be deemed acceptable.

The company's shares were down 0.3% in noon trading, while key U.S. stock indexes were higher.

Related Articles

FDA expects IV fluid shortage to improve in coming weeks, months

By Reuters Staff (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it expects a shortage of intravenous saline fluids for hospitals due to damage to key manufacturing facilities in Read More »

Longer breastfeeding tied to lower diabetes risk for mothers

By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - Mothers who nurse their babies now have another reason to continue as long as they can: longer periods of breastfeeding are associated with a lower risk of Read More »

Home-visit parenting program limits early childhood obesity

By Will Boggs MD NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A prevention-focused home-visit parenting program reduces obesity rates among 2-year-old children living in low-socioeconomic-status communities, Read More »