If you're a careful shopper, then you wouldn't spend $2000 on something when something that costs $40 would do just as well. Yet despite a growing mountain of evidence, that's exactly what's happening with the two leading treatments for wet macular degeneration. Lucentis costs $2000 per dose. Avastin costs $40 per dose. Both are made by Genentech. Only Lucentis injections are FDA approved for wet macular degeneration, not its cheaper counterpart. Did we mention that many people require 12 injections per year? For Lucentis, that's a Medicare cost of $24,000. Per year. Every year. But the 2-year results of the Comparison of AMD Treatments Trial (CATT) reached the following conclusion: "In 2010, ranibizumab (Lucentis) accounted for nearly 10% of the entire Medicare Part B drug budget, its single largest expenditure. As treatment of patients continues indefinitely, the cumulative financial burden to third-party payors and patients will only increase. The choice of drug and dosing regimen for patients must balance the comparable effects on vision, the possibility of true differences in adverse events, and the 40-fold difference in cost per dose between ranibizumab and bevacizumab (Avastin)."**
Wet Macular Degeneration Treatment causing Medicare Budget to "Hemorrhage"
- by Dr. Paul Krawitz
- 12 May, 2012