This is pretty sickening:
firm blocks cheap blindness cure
Company will only seek licence for medicine that costs
Sarah Boseley, health editor
Saturday June 17, 2006
A major drug company is blocking access to a medicine that is cheaply
and effectively saving thousands of people from going blind because it
wants to launch a more expensive product on the market.
Ophthalmologists around the world, on their own initiative, are
injecting tiny quantities of a colon cancer drug called Avastin
[link added] into the eyes of patients with wet macular degeneration, a
common condition of older age that can lead to severely impaired
eyesight and blindness. They report remarkable success at very low cost
because one phial can be split and used for dozens of patients.
[link added], the company that invented Avastin, does not want it used
in this way. Instead it is applying to license a fragment of Avastin,
called Lucentis, which is packaged in the tiny quantities suitable for
eyes at a higher cost. Speculation in the US suggests it could cost
£1,000 per dose instead of less than £10. The
company says Lucentis [link added] is specifically
designed for eyes, with modifications over Avastin, and has been
through 10 years of testing to prove it is safe….
Sometimes, reports such as this are exaggerated. I just saw
this, and have not looked into any more than just reading the news
article. But it appears to convey a valid, serious, concern.