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Novartis AG (NVS) Tries to Make UK Hospitals Use $1000 Drug Vs. Roche (RHHBY)'s $97 Avastin



4/24/2012 7:20:43 AM

Swiss drugmaker Novartis is challenging the use of a cheap alternative to its eye drug Lucentis in parts of Britain, sparking a row over cost versus safety in treating a common cause of blindness. Lucentis, with annualized sales for Novartis of some $2 billion, is licensed for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and is also recommended by Britain's health cost watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. But some local health authorities in the south of England are using low doses of Roche's cancer drug Avastin as a cheaper alternative, even though this product is not licensed for eye use.

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