The results are in for a trial known as CATT that compares Lucentis and Avastin in the treatment of macular degeneration. Drum roll please! To the surprise of very few, Avastin appears to be just as effective in treating the disorder (based on vision testing) as the much more costly Lucentis. Another year of follow up may show something -- but don't hold your breath.
The NEJM published the results and editorialized:
Health care providers and payers worldwide will now have to justify the cost of using ranibizumab [Lucentis]. Regulators in certain countries will be forced to reconsider policies that make it illegal to use drugs off-label, particularly when so many of their citizens cannot afford ranibizumab.
Let's see, it's $23,400 per Lucentis patient per year versus $595 per Avastin patient per year with same level of improvement in vision. Multiply difference by 250,000 patients treated annually in US and you have a cool $5.7 billion -- yikes! Hmmmm - we might save $5.7 billion. Which one should we pick? I wonder. See In Vivo blog, Examiner.com and In the Pipeline.
Lucentis is the first Poster Child.
Posted by Bruce Lehr May 4th 2011.