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VA discontinues use of Avastin

The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services says the Medicare program could have saved more than $1 billion over two years if Genentech’s cancer drug Avastin had been prescribed off-label for wet macular degeneration rather than Lucentis, the company’s similar, costlier drug that is approved for the eye condition. Medicare patients themselves could have saved an additional $275 million, according to the report.

The off-label use of Avastin was recently been linked to eye infections when pharmacies separated large doses into single-use syringes.

Because of the reports of rare infections resulting from Avastin formulation for eye injections from a few, the VA Hospital System has temporarily disallowed its veterans from receiving Avastin injections for age related macular degeneration

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