UK doctors lobby for off-label Avastin use

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Doctors are lobbying the UK's National Health Service to let them prescribe Avastin for wet age-related macular degeneration instead of Lucentis, reports PMLive. The doctors pushing for sanctioned off-label use are members of 120 Clinical Commissioning Groups, which are government-created divisions responsible for overseeing and implementing the country's health programs and initiatives.

PMLive says an official OK to use the drug outside of its cancer indication could save the National Health Service a chunk of money that they argue could be used elsewhere.


“Members of the public would be baffled if they knew the sums of money being spent on expensive drugs when there is an alternative available that is cheaper and as effective,” the chief clinical officer of the NHS Blackpool CCG told PMLive, referring to pricier medications Lucentis (made by Roche/Novartis) and Eylea (made by Regeneron).

This effort is yet another push to allow professionals to officially deploy Avastin beyond its approved indication. Italy and France are among a roster of countries that have given a nod to its off-label use, and the National Institutes of Health released a study just last week that indicated comparable performance between Lucentis ($1,200 a shot) and Avastin ($50 a shot) among diabetic macular edema patients.

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