VA Halts Roche's Avastin for Eye Disease; Rival Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s Stock Surges
Published: Sep 23, 2011
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said it has stopped using Roche's Avastin to treat a sight-robbing eye disease as it looks into reports of increased risk of infection. Roche's Lucentis is specifically approved to treat wet age-related macular degeneration -- the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. But its multibillion-dollar a year cancer drug Avastin, which works in a similar manner, is increasingly being used off-label to treat the disease because it costs a fraction of Lucentis when cut into the small doses needed for the eye disease.