Despite Lucentis's Recent Expanded Label for Diabetic Macular Edema, Avastin Remains the Preferred Intravitreal Therapy for Diabetic Macular Edema in the United States

Lucentis's Prescriber Base and Patient Share Have Grown But Cost-Related Obstacles Remain, According to a New Report from BioTrends Research Group

May 29, 2013, 09:00 ET from BioTrends Research Group

EXTON, Pa., May 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- BioTrends Research Group, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for specialized biopharmaceutical issues, finds that, despite the approval of Genentech's Lucentis 0.3 mg in August 2012 as the first intravitreal therapy (IVT) for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME), Genentech's Avastin continues to dominate the market with 67 percent share of IVT-treated DME patients — similar to the percentage reported in September 2012 — mostly due to Avastin's low cost and broad managed care coverage. Nevertheless, one-third of the 100 U.S. retinal specialists and general ophthalmologists surveyed report a recent decrease in their use of Avastin, owing in part to a preference for Lucentis 0.3 mg.


The report entitled TreatmentTrends®: Diabetic Retinopathy/Diabetic Macular Edema (U.S.) 2013 finds that share of Lucentis (all doses) among IVT-treated patients has increased significantly from 14 to 20 percent over the past six months, driven in part by a growing Lucentis prescriber base, which may reflect the importance of the expanded label to physicians' likelihood to prescribe the drug. Separately, Regeneron's Eylea share has also increased slightly, but not significantly, from 5 to 8 percent of IVT-treated DME patients. One-half of surveyed physicians believe that expanded labeling of Eylea to include DME would increase their willingness to prescribe Eylea, thanks mostly to an anticipated positive impact on managed care coverage for DME. However, it is important to note that, even with the expanded Lucentis label, surveyed physicians rate Lucentis 0.3 mg significantly lower than Avastin on managed care coverage and out of pocket cost remains a commonly cited obstacle to Lucentis use.

"With almost three-quarters of surveyed physicians agreeing that cost to the patient plays a large role in their prescribing decision when initiating treatment, managed care coverage and out-of-pocket cost will remain barriers to branded agent uptake as long as compounded Avastin owns the cost benefit proposition in this market," said BioTrends Research Group Ophthalmology Senior Director Virginia Schobel.

Additionally, the report finds that with no products approved for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy (DR), most nonproliferative DR patients still receive systemic control, while the majority of proliferative DR (PDR) patients are treated with scatter laser photocoagulation. Reported treatment patterns suggest that the approval of Lucentis 0.3 mg for DME has not significantly affected the use of IVT therapy for DR or Lucentis share within IVT-treated DR patients. While surveyed physicians anticipate some increase in IVT use among PDR patients over the next six months, a lack of late-stage products suggests that limited changes to the overall DR treatment algorithm are likely to occur during the foreseeable future.

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