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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 377-383

Bevacizumab for eye diseases – Legal, regulatory, and ethical overview

Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Biopharma), Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vinu Jose
Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Biopharma), Moraiya, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijp.IJP_413_19

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Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors, ranibizumab, aflibercept, and pegaptanib are approved treatments for certain eye diseases that occurs especially in the elderly. These drugs are mostly inaccessible due to their high cost. Bevacizumab is a VEGF inhibitor, approved for cancer treatment. Being a cheaper alternative, it is extensively used off-label as an intravitreal injection for the treatment of eye diseases. In this article, we have analyzed similarities and differences between bevacizumab and ranibizumab, and potential long-term safety concerns with off-label use of bevacizumab. We also analyzed legal, regulatory, and ethical background of off-label use and provided recommendations to resolve this issue. Based on the extensive clinical data, actions taken, and recommendations provided by agencies such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, International Council of Ophthalmology, United Kingdom and Thailand regulatory agency, intravitreal bevacizumab has adequate evidence for controlled licensing. Claiming better safety for ranibizumab at the expense of nonaffordability cannot be considered a positive risk-benefit scenario. Intravitreal bevacizumab is being used and will continue to be used off-label, if not regulatory controlled. Licensing will ensure the availability of intravitreal bevacizumab to the patients with eye diseases, without any legal or ethical concerns for the clinicians, and will also assist in generating long-term safety data. Safest delivery formulation and dosage form should be considered for approval. Both the regulatory agency and technical experts should join and take critical decision, which will be a big step forward to making a cost-effective drug available to the public.


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