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Price Tag on Gene Therapy for Rare Form of Blindness: $850K

FILE - Dr. Albert Maguire (R), at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, checks the eyes of Misa Kaabali, 8, who was 4-years-old when he received his gene therapy treatment, Oct. 4, 2017.

A first-of-its kind genetic treatment for blindness will cost $850,000, less than the $1 million price tag that had been expected, but it's still among the most expensive genetic therapies in the world.

Spark Therapeutics says it decided on the lower price tag for Luxturna (Lux-turn-a) after hearing from health insurers about their ability to cover the injectable treatment.

Consternation over skyrocketing drug prices, especially in the U.S., has led to intense scrutiny from patients, Congress, insurers and hospitals.

Luxturna, approved last month, is the nation's first gene therapy for an inherited disease. It can improve the vision of those with a rare form of blindness that affects just a few thousand people in the U.S.