Spinraza (nusinersen) is a brand-name prescription medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved it to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in adults and children.
For more information about Spinraza’s uses, refer to this article.
Here are some details about Spinraza:
- How it’s given: intrathecal injection (an injection directly into the fluid in your spinal cord)
- Generic version: not available
Read on to learn about Spinraza injections and cost and how to save money on prescriptions.
As with all medications, the cost of Spinraza can vary. Factors that may affect the price you’ll pay include:
- your treatment plan
- your insurance coverage
- the cost of the visit to the treatment center to receive doses of Spinraza
- whether Spinraza has a savings program (see the “Financial and insurance assistance” section below)
To find out what the cost of Spinraza treatment will be for you, talk with your doctor or insurance provider.
Below is information you may want to consider if you have insurance and receive Spinraza.
Prior authorization. If you have insurance, your insurance company may require prior authorization before it covers Spinraza. This means the company and your doctor will discuss Spinraza in regard to your treatment. The insurance company will then determine whether the medication is covered. If a drug requires prior authorization, but you start treatment without the prior approval, you could pay the full cost of the medication. You can ask your insurance company whether Spinraza requires prior authorization.
Type of insurance coverage. A healthcare professional gives Spinraza at an approved treatment center. If you have insurance, the price of your Spinraza doses may be billed through your primary health insurance instead of the prescription drug portion of your insurance. This depends on your insurance coverage and where you receive your Spinraza doses. If you have questions about this process, contact your doctor or your insurance provider.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about drug cost and Spinraza.
How much does Spinraza cost per dose and per year?
Spinraza’s cost per dose and annual cost depend on your insurance coverage (if you have it). It may also depend on how much it costs to visit treatment centers and receive doses of Spinraza.
Co-pay support programs are available from Spinraza’s manufacturer. This includes co-pay support for paying for Spinraza and its administration. Refer to the “Financial and insurance assistance” section below to learn more about these support programs.
If you have questions about Spinraza’s cost per dose, talk with your doctor or health insurance provider (if you have one).
How does the cost of Spinraza compare with that Zolgensma?
Zolgensma is a drug approved to treat children less than age 2 years who have a specific form of spinal muscular atrophy. It’s not approved for adults. Zolgensma is given once as an IV infusion.
It’s difficult to compare the costs of Spinraza and Zolgensma. Both drugs are very expensive, and specially trained representatives work with your insurance company to determine the costs you’ll pay for treatment. These costs can vary from person to person, depending on your insurance coverage.
If you have questions about the cost of Zolgensma compared with Spinraza, contact your insurance provider.
If you need financial support to pay for Spinraza or help with understanding your insurance coverage, help is available. For example:
- Biogen, the manufacturer of Spinraza, has a financial assistance program called SMA360°. Eligible people may receive co-pay support for the cost of Spinraza and help with paying for Spinraza administration. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, call 844-477-4672 or visit the program website.
- Some websites provide details about drug assistance programs, ways to make the most of your insurance coverage, and links to savings cards and other services. Two such websites are:
To learn more about saving money on prescriptions with or without insurance, check out this article.
Spinraza is only available as a brand-name drug. It doesn’t come in a generic version. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication.
Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.
WHY ARE COSTS DIFFERENT FOR BRAND-NAME DRUGS VS. GENERIC DRUGS?
Brand-name drugs can be expensive because of the research needed to test their safety and effectiveness. The manufacturer of a brand-name drug can sell it for up to 20 years. When the brand-name drug’s patent expires, multiple manufacturers can create generic versions. This marketplace competition may lead to lower costs for generics. Also, because generics contain the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs, they don’t require the same costly testing.
Now that you’ve learned about cost and Spinraza, you may still have some questions. Talk with your doctor, who can provide personalized guidance about cost issues related to Spinraza. But if you have health insurance, you’ll need to talk with your insurance provider to learn if Spinraza is covered. They can also help determine the actual cost you would pay for the drug.
Here are some other resources you may find helpful:
- Medicare drug coverage. To learn about Medicare coverage for drugs, see these articles about Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, drug coupons and Medicare, and the Medicare drug list.
- More details. For details about other aspects of Spinraza, refer to this article.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.