Discontinued sale of AMD treatment could harm patients

October 19, 2007

The decision to stop selling bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech) to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to compounding pharmacies may have a significant impact on the care of patients according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

The decision to stop selling bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech) to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to compounding pharmacies may have a significant impact on the care of patients according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

"Our main concern is for our patients with macular degeneration, who have come to rely on [bevacizumab] in their fight against potential vision loss," said Charles "Pat" Wilkinson, MD, president of the AAO. "Together, with the retinal community, the academy is evaluating how this decision will affect patient care."

Bevacizumab, FDA-approved for oncology indications, has been used by physicians prior to the approval of ranibizumab (Lucentis, Genentech), which has been specifically designed for AMD treatment. The National Institutes of Health is sponsoring a trial between the two drugs this year.

While the academy said it looks for a safe solution for patients and their doctors, bevacizumab will continue to be made available directly to physicians and hospital pharmacies through authorized wholesale distributors. Ophthalmologists need compounding pharmacies to divide vials of bevacizumab into smaller doses for the treatment of AMD and other eye disorders, the AAO said.