Avastin Injections at VA Causing Blindness

A VA medical center in Los Angeles has reported that five patients who were treated with the drug Avastin for eye disease have been blinded. Earlier this year, four patients at the VA hospital in Nashville suffered infections from the bacterially contaminated Avastin. The Food and Drug Administration also issued an alert last Tuesday stating that 12 patients in the Miami area had suffered eye infections after being injected with Avastin. Avastin is a cancer drug but is also commonly used to treat a form of age-related macular degeneration and other eye diseases. It only costs approximately $50.00 per injection as opposed to Lucentis, a similar type of drug, which costs approximately $2,000.00 per injection. In the Los Angeles cases, the five patients all received their injections of Avastin on August 12 at the VA Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center. One of the patients reported that they all ended up in the E.R. over the course of the next few days and put together the connection. Most of the patients lost all of their vision in the eye that received the injection. One man has filed a claim for $4 Million, saying that the infection left him blind and with brain damage. The VA issued a statement that its Los Angeles medical center had suspended use of Avastin for macular degeneration and was now buying Lucentis to resume therapy for its patients. The F.D.A.’s investigation into the matter is continuing.