What’s the difference between bevacizumab (Avastin) and ranibuzumab (Lucentis)? Both are cancer drugs used for the treatment of “wet” age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with similar effects, according to a government study funded by the National Eye Institute.
“At 1 year, bevacizumab and ranibuzumab had equivalent effects on visual acuity when administered according to the same schedule,” researchers conclude in the one-year study, published this spring in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Where the differences lie, the study suggests, is that ranibuzumab is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressly for the purpose of treating neovascular AMD, and bevacizumab is not. And ranibuzumab is $2,000 a dose, and bevacizumab is not. At only $50 a dose, bevacizumab seems like the more favorable choice. Genentech, the company that markets both drugs, disagrees.