Game Changer: The $850,000 blindness drug

By Health Care FOXBusiness

Cure for blindness?

Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel on a possible cure for blindness.

The inception of a new drug that offers a cure for a retinol eye disorder is a game changer according to Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel.

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"This is an exciting discovery," Dr. Siegel told FOX Business' Stuart Varney on "Varney & Co." "We are talking about 1,000 to 2,000 people a year who have dystrophy of the retina where they literally can't see, have lost vision, and they now have hope."

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But the one-time treatment, offered by Spark Therapeutics (ONCE), doesn't come cheap. The drug costs $850,000 to fix both eyes, ranking it among the most expensive genetic therapies in the world. Despite this, in Dr. Siegel’s opinion "it's a miracle cure." 

"It's a drug that introduces the gene that is abhorrent or mutant in the condition. And if you still have some viable cells in the retina, it causes them to rejuvenate and overcome the condition," Siegel explained.

Spark is offering an unconventional payment system in order to ease pricing concerns. The company is telling Harvard Pilgrim and other insurance companies that a one-time payment of $420,000 per eye will accepted, only if the treatment works. They are also working with Medicaid and Medicare on a gradual payment system.

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