American Academy of Ophthalmology opposes biosimilar products for Avastin treatment

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The American Academy of Ophthalmology has asked two government agencies to prohibit policies pushing the use of biosimilars to Avastin in Medicare plans.

The organization reportedly urged CMS and HHS to prohibit the policies in Medicare Advantage and exchange plans, according to a July 29 press release.

Avastin is used to treat patients with various vision-threatening diseases. Healthcare insurers began recommending biosimilars after ophthalmologists began having difficulties acquiring Avastin because the drug's largest supplier, Optum, is currently unable to ship the drug.

AAO stated that the use of biosimilars puts patients' safety at risk because, unlike Avastin, the drugs have not yet been tested in the eye.

"The Academy has told HHS and CMS it is inappropriate for plans to recommend or mandate use of these biosimilars for intravitreal injection without a prior clinical trial in eye disease and testing for retinal toxicity," the organization said in the press release.

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