It has been recently revealed that some local health authorities in the south of England are using economic eye drop, known as Avastin, for the wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) problem. The drug is in fact not licensed for eye use, and has raised concerns among the authorities concerned.
As soon as Swiss drug maker Novartis got to know about the issue, which provides eye drug known as Lucentis in Britain, they are spreading the difference between the two and have been challenging the cheap alternative.
Lucentis is approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, and has been recommended by all doctors. Its annual sales for Novartis are about $2 billion, said experts, who have been raising concerns about the cheap alternative.
It is suspected that the drug Avastin does not cost much and this is the reason that it is given to people, who cannot afford expensive medicines for eyes. Experts are of the view that the cheap alternative is not even recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
Novartis said that they are going to initiate a judicial review of the policy in Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth, and trying their best that people stop taking such cheap alternatives. They further affirmed that people are just thinking about the cost, and are not thinking about the harm they are doing to their eyes.
“It is unacceptable to put the safety of patients at risk through the widespread use of an unlicensed treatment when a licensed medicine is available”, said Novartis. However, industry experts are of the view that companies like Novartis has not right to take decisions for other available drugs.