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Cheap drug is as good at treating eye disorder as more expensive product, trial shows

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 03 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2794
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

An eagerly awaited trial has shown that millions of pounds a year could be saved through the use of an anticancer drug to treat the neovascular or “wet” form of age related macular degeneration (wet AMD).

The trial showed that bevacizumab (marketed as Avastin) is as effective in improving sight as ranibizumab (Lucentis), at a fraction of the cost. Although unlicensed for the condition, bevacizumab is already widely used to treat wet AMD because its mode of action is similar to that of ranibizumab, earlier trials have indicated that it works just as well, and using it saves money.

The comparison of age related macular degeneration treatment trials (CATT) was funded by the US National Institutes of Health to determine whether the two drugs really are equally good. Its results, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1102673), show no difference in the primary outcome of change in visual acuity. But the trial, of …

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