Outcome raises stakes in confrontation between doctors and pharmaceutical companies fighting to protect high pricesA groundbreaking trial funded by the NHS has shown that a cheap, unlicensed drug to prevent blindness is just as effective as the expensive one marketed by a major pharmaceutical company.If all patients needing treatment were given unlicensed Avastin injections instead of Lucentis, the NHS could save £84.5m, the researchers calculate.The first year's results of the trial, called Ivan, which compared the two drugs head to head, shows that Lucentis, at £741 a vial, is no better than Avastin, at £40. It also shows that treating patients when a checkup reveals they need it, rather than every month, leads to equally good results and further reduces the bill.The results raise the stakes in what has been seen as a confrontation between pharmaceutical companies fighting to protect the high prices they charge for their drugs and some...
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