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Bit High

The Institute for Clinical Evaluation and Review, a nonprofit group, says the cost of Spark Therapeutics' Luxturna is too high, Forbes reports.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved Spark's Luxturna, a gene therapy to treat retinal dystrophy last month. It's the first approved gene therapy for an inherited disease. The firm then announced that the gene therapy would cost $850,000 for a one-time treatment, or $425,000 per eye.

While that came in below some analysts' expectations, Forbes writes that the ICER says the cost of the treatment is still too high. ICER says that the list price of the treatment doesn't meet cost-effectiveness standards. Instead, it argues that a cost-effective price would be a closer to $153,000 to $217,000, Stat News adds.

It came to those numbers by assuming that a 15-year-old patient — the average age of patients in the clinical trial — would experience a benefit from the treatment for about 10 years to 20 years. Forbes notes that when ICER factored in additional societal benefits like better education and productivity, the group says a price tag about half what Spark has announced would meet cost-effectiveness thresholds.

Stat News notes that when ICER did the same math for a 3-year-old patient and the drug's list price did meet cost-effectiveness standards.

Spark has said that it would also have payment and access programs and was considering tying payments to how well the treatment worked.