There are many causes of blindness. It may be the result of an accident or it may be due to some form of progressive eye disease or it could be genetic. A small biotech firm has been in the process of developing a therapy for an infrequent type of blindness. The treatment is genetic-based and initial cost estimates place it at about $850,000.
Luxturna is the name of the gene therapy. It is administered to patient who have a vision defect that prevents the eye from producing a critical protein. The lack of this organic compound results in a condition that causes retinal dystrophy or deteriorating vision. This ailment is genetic and passed down from parent(s) to child.
Luxturna was only recently approved by the FDA. It is expected to be one of the first of a barrage of medicines that offer the promise of remarkable outcomes after only one treatment! It should come as no surprise then, that this type of revolutionary medication will also have a hefty price tag.
The company that is making this therapy is Spark Therapeutics, Inc. When interviewed by phone, the CEO of the company explained that the price reflects both the breakthrough nature of this new therapy and its likely single use application (when perfected). In other words, the costs of repeated treatments, visits to doctors and specialists, and other associated costs will be completely wiped out if this gene therapy works as intended. He also explained that the seemingly high price tag will allow them to continue to create new remediations they currently have ‘in their pipeline’. Ultimately, the principals of Spark Therapeutics, Inc. believe their products will represent a significant cost savings to the American public via lowered insurance for multiple treatments.
Of course, health insurance companies are weighing in as well – in most cases stating that while the initial cost is high, there is likely to be a path for patients to get this treatment. For more information on this groundbreaking treatment or to discuss your eyecare needs, contact the professionals at Island Eyecare today!