An article appeared in today’s Louisville Courier Journal which highlights one of the many problems with our Healthcare system. Worldwide pharmaceutical maker Genentech created a drug called Avastin, which has been approved for use as a cancer drug. Avastin has also been found to be effective in the attempt to slow down the progression of a very debilitating eye disease known as wet age related macular degeneration. Around the same time, Genentech developed a drug, known as Lucentis, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration specifically for use in slowing the progression of wet age related macular degeneration . The cost of a dose of Avastin is only about $60, while the cost of a dose of Lucentis is about $2,000. Sean F. Murphy, MD vitreo-retinal and macular specialist at The Eye Care Institute has used the less expensive drug, Avastin, hundreds of times with success in the treatment of wet macular degeneration patients. Due to the high cost of Lucentis, Dr. Murphy avoids Lucentis treatments. Dr. Murphy stated “the Avastin versus Lucentis problem illustrates one of the many problems with healthcare. American pharmaceutical companies often spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create new, safe medications. Access to less expensive equally effective medications can be threatened or blocked by drug companies in favor of forcing the more expensive product into the mainstream to recoup their research and development costs.” “We will do everything we can to continue to provide high quality, low cost care to our patients. Currently, that includes the continued use of Avastin to offer a lower cost alternative to our patients suffering from wet age related macular degeneration,” Dr. Murphy continued. For more information on treatment of age related macular degeneration, or to schedule an appointment with Dr Murphy, call 502-589-1500.

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