24 April 2012
Brits who are seeking a cheaper drug in order to overcome a main cause leading to the loss of vision have been warned about the use.
Avastin has been deemed a more cost-effective alternative to Lucentis in the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
However, the drug has not been officially recognised to treat such severe eye conditions in the UK.
Despite this, the NHS in Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth last year began prescribing the use of Avastin.
Pharmaceutical company Novartis has now challenged the drug's use and is seeking a judicial review of the policy to pay for Avastin on the NHS.
The company told BBC News: "It is unacceptable to put the safety of patients at risk through the widespread use of an unlicensed treatment when a licensed medicine is available."
Meanwhile, scientists at Trinity College Dublin have recently discovered a chemical which could be used as a one-off injection to form another alternative treatment to AMD.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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