Move by French government encourages docs to use Roche's Avastin over Lucentis

Roche's ($RHHBY) Avastin is often prescribed off label as a cheaper alternative to its Lucentis for treating wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Now French lawmakers are encouraging the practice as a way to save the country money, Reuters reports. The French government Tuesday amended its social security budget bill to allow doctors to use the cancer drug Avastin as a treatment for AMD--a leading cause of blindness among the elderly. Lucentis costs 30 times more than Avastin in France, Reuters reports, and lawmakers said the switch could save it €200 million ($273 million) a year. Roche and Novartis ($NVS) are being investigated in Europe for allegedly trying to dissuade doctors from the practice of using the cheaper drug. Story | More