This article covers the first ruling from a government /country to rule out the use of Avastin for patient’s with age-related macular degeneration. Avastin is FDA-approved only for treatment of colon and other cancers, but not for macular degeneration. As an alternative, many eye doctors have been using Avastin as an off-label treatment for age-related macular degeneration in the United States .-MDA 
The government has ruled out the use of Avastin for patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), stating that its use would be “unlawful” and “against the wider public interest.”
The Minister for Life Sciences, George Freeman MP, made the comments in a letter responding to calls from clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to review the off label use of the drug for use in patients with AMD which could dramatically cut costs for the NHS.
In February, the heads of 120 CCGs wrote to the Department of Health asking the government and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to reappraise Avastin and look at comparative cost effectiveness of Avastin alongside the NICE-approved treatments Eylea and Lucentis.
In his response, in a letter dated March 23, the minister said: “The use of Avastin to treat AMD is an unlicensed use and setting a policy for routine use of Avastin on ground of cost alone is not therefore something I can support nor would it be prudent for me to risk public funds by underwriting it.”
Referring to the availability of licensed treatments, Mr Freeman writes: “These drugs also have positive recommendations from NICE technology appraisals that mean that they are cost-effective options for treating [AMD].”
The charity sector has welcomed the “clarity” of Mr Freeman’s response. Chief executive of the Macular Society, Cathy Yelf, said: “Drug licensing exists for the protection of patients and should not be disregarded for short term gains. We do however understand the frustration of many people in the NHS who are trying to save money so as to be able to treat more patients.”………
Read more: http://www.optometry.co.uk/news-and-features/news/?article=7212
Source: Optometry Today

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