UK's NHS Looking into Avastin® As Treatment for Wet AMD


MAY 11, 2010

BBC News (5/5/10) reports that the UK´s National Health Service (NHS) “is looking into if it should break with convention and recommend the use of an unlicensed treatment for patients at risk of blindness.” Currently, “Lucentis® [ranibizumab] is the preferred option for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) -- but at £10,000 per patient on average it is a costly therapy.” The drug, however, “is derived from Avastin [bevacizumab], a cheaper drug used for bowel cancer.” Both Avastin and Lucentis are manufactured by Genentech, which has not applied to have Avastin licensed for treating wet AMD.

BBC News: NHS considering 'cheap eye drug'

The UK´s Telegraph (5/4/10) reported that the drugmaker is “unlikely to carry out clinical trials in order to have” Avastin licensed as an AMD treatment, given the fact that it already produces Lucentis. Now, “in an unusual move, the Department of Health has asked the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to look at what advice it can give the NHS on the use of Avastin for AMD.” NICE is expected “to report back” in the summer.

The Telegraph: Cancer drug 'could be used for blindness'