A new drug treating a rare form of blindness will cost $850,000. Photo: Courtesy of Spark Therapeutics

Spark Therapeutics is charging $850,000 for its recently approved gene therapy drug, Luxturna, which treats a rare eye condition that leads to blindness. The actual price will be lower after Spark negotiates discounts with health insurers, but uninsured patients and people with high deductibles and coinsurance rates pay based on the list price.

Why it matters: Luxturna is now the most expensive drug on the market, although many other rare-disease drugs also cost more than $500,000.

More details: The drug company said it is working with insurers to offer rebates if Luxturna doesn't work, and it is talking with the federal government to allow insurers to pay for the therapy over several years instead of having to make one large upfront payment.

Go deeper: The $850,000 price tag for Luxturna is above what is considered to be a fair, value-based price, according to a draft analysis from a group that evaluates drug prices.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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  1. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests
  2. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases
  3. Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  4. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.

In pictures: Storm Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.

4 hours ago - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing" and the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

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