Genentech denies US specialists of Avastin

November 1, 2007

Genentech is seeking to restrict the use of its anti-VEGF drug Avastin by ophthalmologists in the US.

Genentech is seeking to restrict the use of its anti-VEGF drug Avastin by ophthalmologists in the US.

Avastin is currently approved as an anti-cancer treatment, however, ophthalmologists have been using the agent off-label for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The move is not proving popular with some doctors, who say it may force them to use Genentech's much more expensive drug, Lucentis. Lucentis costs approximately $2,000 a dose, while Avastin costs just $50 a dose.

In a letter to retina specialists, Genentech said that, as of November 30, 2007, its wholesalers would no longer provide Avastin to compounding pharmacies — companies that can divide a vial of Avastin into smaller portions for use in the eye.