FDA approves new macular degeneration treatment

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The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for the treatment of the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, called Eylea. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in the elderly.

Eylea, which is manufactured by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, is a slightly less expensive treatment, costing $1,850 per injection, versus $1,950 for Genentech's Lucentis.

Both Lucentis and Eylea are still more expensive than the cancer drug Avastin, also made by Genentech. Avastin, which was recently pulled by the FDA as a breast cancer treatment option, is used as an off-label drug to treat macular degeneration, and accounts for over half of that market, The New York Times reports. Avastin costs only $50 per dose, but has been hampered recently due to reports that tainted vials of the drug infected users with Streptococcus endophthalmitis.

 

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