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Thursday 19th September 2019

Cheap eye drug considered by NHS

5th May 2010

The health service is exploring the possibility of using an eye drug for patients with wet age-related macular degeneration.


The current treatment for AMD is Lucentis, which costs an average of £10,000 to treat each patient.

Lucentis is derived from Avastin, which is a lower-cost medication used for bowel cancer. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is looking into whether the cheaper drug should replace Lucentis.

Patients who suffer from AMD are treated with Avastin by minute doses being injected into their eyes.

The health service used to treat patients with Avastin in this way until 2008, when NICE recommended Lucentis.

Both Lucentis and Avastin are manufactured by the American company Genentech. The company has not agreed to apply for Avastin to be given a licence to treat wet AMD.

Cathy Yelf, of the Macular Disease Society, said: "This is an exceptional case and could lift some of the pressure on the NHS."

"But we need to get results from the trials currently going on into whether Avastin is truly safe and effective before a decision is taken," she added.

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