Genentech to take Avastin off market to quell competition with Lucentis

SAN FRANCISCO Genentech will stop the availability of its cancer drug Avastin to certain pharmacies in an effort to hinder the usage of the drug in treating eye disease – which has cut into the sales of the company’s high-priced eye drug, Lucentis, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The company is trying to get the sale of its other eye disease drug Lucentis up, by stopping Avastin. Avastin is chemically similar and almost $2,000 less in price than Lucentis. Genentech is also trying to point out the fact that, Lucentis was approved specifically for use in the eyes and Avastin is not authorized for it.

Avastin will be available to hospital pharmacies and to doctors, but as of Nov. 30 compounding pharmacies will no longer have access to the drug. In the first six months of this year, Avastin had sales of $1.1 billion and Lucentis had sales of $420 million.