How Much Is a Miracle Worth?Issue 04-10-17 |
Spark Therapeutics Inc. has spent about $400 million to develop a gene therapy to cure a rare form of child blindness. Now Spark must decide how to price it.
Pharmaceutical firms are coming up with one-time cures for illnesses that used to be treated as chronic conditions. But insurers are grappling with paying huge one-time costs.
Gilead Sciences Inc. charges $84,000 for its hepatitis C cure, which most agree is a deal compared to chronic treatment costs. Still, when many of the 3 million Americans with hepatitis C wanted the cure, the total cost to insurers was staggering. Gilead became a target of widespread criticism for high drug prices, including congressional scrutiny.
Spark is studying court awards for damages involving blindness to put a price on sight. Researchers and policy analysts are investigating alternative ways to finance drug development and treatments.