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Lucentis Scam Costs Medicare a Billion a Year

December 11, 2014

Ed Notes Online – When the drug maker Genentech introduced a major product in 2006, it found itself in an awkward position: persuading eye doctors to start using its new more expensive drug instead of a popular cheaper version that the company already sold.

Ophthalmologists had been enthusiastically using the company’s cancer drug Avastin, which cost about $50 a dose, to treat a common eye disease in the elderly, wet macular degeneration. Then Genentech introduced Lucentis, a nearly equivalent drug that cost $2,000 a dose and was approved specifically to treat the disease. Use of Lucentis took off, and it has become one of Medicare’s most expensive treatments — costing the federal government about $1 billion a year — even though several studies have concluded Lucentis has no significant advantage over its cheaper alternative….. Paid to Promote Eye Drug, and Prescribing It Widely.

RELATED: $100 Bill on Your Windshield is a Scam

So the NY Times article in yesterday’s business section of the NY Times was, excuse the expression, an eye opener. But I should have known as a simple search shows a long history of exposing the story.