UK Authority Backs Down in Novartis AG Eye Drug Dispute

Published: Jul 26, 2012

A regional British health authority said on Wednesday it had decided to stop using the cancer drug Avastin as a cheap alternative to eye medicine Lucentis following a legal challenge from Novartis, which sells Lucentis in Europe. Lucentis, with annualized sales for Novartis of more than $2 billion, is licensed for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and recommended by Britain's health cost watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). But some hospitals in southern England have been using low doses of Roche's cancer drug Avastin as a cheaper option, even though it is not licensed for treating eye conditions.

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