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Health Last Updated: Mar 11th, 2011 - 15:30:48

Study Finds Drug Effective in Treating Vision Loss in Diabetics
Michele Kilpatrick
Mar 10, 2011, 08:54

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A recent study has found that Lucentis, an eye drug distributed in the United States by pharmaceutical company Roche, can be effective in treating diabetic macular edema, the leading cause of blindness among the elderly. The finding was welcome news for the company, which experienced a setback when Britain's healthcare cost watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, determined that it was not worth the cost.

In findings reported by Roche to the Macula Society, researchers found that after 24 months, 44.8% of patients taking .3 mg of Lucentis were able to read at least 15 more letters on an eye chart than at the start of the study.

39.2% of patients were able to do so after taking .5 mg of Lucentis, while only 18.1% were able to do so after being given a placebo.

The drug still faces another hurdle as its effectiveness must be compared to that of Avastin, an alternative drug that sells for a fraction of the cost.

Though its future remains uncertain, Roche's stock increased .6% on news of the positive results.

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