Cheaper Roche drug as good as Lucentis

April 28, 2011

Avastin, a cancer drug made by Roche Holding AG, was about as effective as the company’s far more expensive eye drug, Lucentis, at preventing vision loss in people with age-related macular degeneration, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

The two drugs were compared in a federally funded U.S. study originally scheduled to be released on Sunday at a medical meeting and in the New England Journal of Medicine, but were released early on Thursday.

The Times report cited two anonymous sources who said the study found injections of Lucentis and Avastin given every four weeks had similar results after one year. Release of trial results ahead of their publication is considered a scientific and ethical breach.
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