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Higher priced drugs are not cost effective for diabetic macular edema, US study finds

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i3253 (Published 09 June 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i3253
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. Seattle

In comparsion with treatment with the low cost antivascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drug bevacizumab (Avastin), the more expensive alternatives aflibercept (Eylea) and ranibizumab (Lucentis) are not cost effective for diabetic macular edema, a new study has found.1

Aflibercept and ranibizumab are 20 to 30 times more expensive than bevacizumab, which is approved for the treatment of cancer and is frequently repackaged for off label treatment of retinal vascular disease.

Diabetic macular edema (DME), which is caused by the swelling of the retina’s macula because of abnormal blood vessel growth, is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetic retinopathy. VEGF stimulates the growth of these abnormal blood vessels, and anti-VEGF drugs, administered by intravitreal injection, …

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