Study: Lucentis Helps With Diabetic Vision Loss

The New York Times (4/28, B3, Pollack) reports, in what researchers “hailed as a major advance,” a study published in Ophthalmology found Lucentis (ranibizumab) “can improve eyesight being lost to” diabetic macular edema. It helped prevent “a big loss of vision” and almost half of those treated with Lucentis, often along with laser therapy, had their vision improve. While the treatment is off-label, this trial means insurers will “be more likely to pay for” it. However, the trial was criticized for testing Lucentis instead of Avastin (bevacizumab), which works in the same way and is much cheaper. “Organizers of the trial conceded that a major reason Lucentis was chosen was that Genentech,” which makes both medicines, would only agree to provide medicines for free, as well as contribute $9 million in additional financing, if Lucentis was used.

The Los Angeles Times (4/28, Maugh) reports that Dr. Frederick L. Ferris III, the National Eye Institute’s clinical director, “acknowledged at a news conference that Genentech’s financial contributions to the trial had swayed the decision-making process.” Dr. Neil M. Bressler of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University, who led the study, said, “This will have a major impact on how ophthalmologists will treat macular edema in people with diabetes.”

Courtesy of the Doctors at Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care; Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and Opticians serving Rockville, Potomac and Gaithersburg Maryland suburbs of Washington DC.  For more information visit

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