OHSU Eye Study: Two medications, similar results, drastically different costs

A recent clinical trial involving researchers from OHSU’s Casey Eye Institute comparing two drugs used to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has shown that both Lucentis and Acastin are nearly equally as effective despite the fact that Avastin costs a fraction of what Lucentis costs. These findings were published this week in the medical journal Ophthalmology.

A single dose of Lucentis costs approximately $2,000 whereas one dose of Avastin is around $50. Both drugs are FDA-approved and both act to combat abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye, an aspect of AMD that causes vision loss. However, Avastin’s approved use is to treat certain forms of cancer, and is only used as an “off-label” treatment for AMD.

The Casey Eye Institute was one of several research centers involved in the study, with more than 1,000 participants over the course of two years.

Christina Flaxel, M.D., a physician-scientist at the Casey Eye Institute and adjunct associate professor of Ophthalmology, stated: “Both drugs act by blocking a key protein that causes the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye,” and “Both drugs have a unique method for blocking this protein, but the results appear to be approximately the same when it comes to vision impact.”

To learn more, check out the OHSU News release.