Background The primary treatment of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is based on inhibition of Vascular Epithelial Growth Factor (VEGF) with antiangiogenic drugs, which delay disease progression and improve the patient’s vision.
Choosing between bevacizumab and ranibizumab is still up for debate. Bevacizumab has not been approved for AMD, while ranibizumab has a safer profile and is legally approved for this condition, although it is more expensive.
Purpose To evaluate the cost of intravitreal ranibizumab in AMD and to compare with the hypothetical cost of treatment with intravitreal bevacizumab in off-label conditions for the same group of patients.
Materials and Methods This descriptive observational study was carried out in a General Hospital, over a period of 24 months between January 2010 and December 2011. All patients diagnosed with AMD who received at least one dose of intravitreal ranibizumab were included.
Results 77 patients were included in the study, with a total of 82 eyes treated. This involved the administration of 259 injections of intravitreal ranibizumab. Each dose cost €549.75. In total, the consumption of intravitreal ranibizumab to treat the AMD during the period of study carried an expense of €142,385.25.
Considering that the unit cost of intravitreal bevacizumab is €4.08, the administration of this drug instead of ranibizumab would have cost €1,056.72.
Conclusions Ranibizumab is 135 times more expensive than bevacizumab.
In this group of patients, the use of bevacizumab would have reduced costs by approximately €141,000.
No conflict of interest.