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Macular Degeneration: Drugs

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects clinical trials for the use of avastin in the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration to commence. (196809)

Avastin has not been licensed for use in wet age-macular degeneration (AMD) and the companies that make Avastin have not applied for a licence for the treatment of AMD.

The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme commissioned a head-to-head trial of Avastin and Lucentis in July 2007 to compare their clinical and cost-effectiveness in the treatment of wet AMD. Funding for the trial will amount to £2.8 million over a period of 42 months.

Further details about the trial can be found at:

www.ncchta.org/project/1625.asp

The law does allow the use of either unlicensed medicines or the prescribing of a licensed medicinal product ‘off-label’—that is outside the terms of its marketing authorisation in order to meet special clinical needs. Such prescriptions are subject to the individual clinician’s judgment and are on the personal responsibility of the prescriber, and subject to funding by individual primary care trusts.