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US’s $2bn annual spend on dry eye disease “brings tears to your eyes,” say critics

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 31 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k492
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

The US spends over $2bn (£1.4bn; €1.6bn) a year on a marginally effective drug for a condition many people would not consider to be a disease, a viewpoint article in JAMA Internal Medicine has claimed.1

Lisa Schwartz and Stephen Woloshin, of the Institute for Health Policy at Dartmouth, New Hampshire, say that Restasis—a drug manufactured by Allergan to treat dry eye disease—was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration on scant evidence and that sales have been driven by an aggressive marketing campaign.

“Think about all the good that could have been done with the billions spent in the US on Restasis,” they conclude. “It should bring tears to your eyes. Which is what Restasis is supposed to do—just not like this.”

The manufacturer, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, denies …

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