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Cheaper alternative for macular degeneration is as safe as licensed drug, review finds

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 15 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5618
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1The BMJ

An anticancer drug that is used off label to treat wet age related macular degeneration causes no more side effects than the far more expensive licensed treatment, a review of trials has concluded.

The authors of the Cochrane review1 said that their findings should end disagreement over the safety of the cheaper drug, bevacizumab (marketed as Avastin), compared with ranibizumab (Lucentis). The current evidence did not support policies that backed the use of the more expensive drug for safety reasons, they said.

Ever since ranibizumab was approved in Europe in 2007 it has courted controversy. It is the drug most commonly used in the United Kingdom to treat wet age related macular degeneration and costs about £700 …

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