The BMJ Today: You don’t always get what you pay for

On today, researchers have found that a much cheaper treatment for wet age related macular degeneration causes no more side effects than the far more expensive licensed treatment.

Zosia Kmietowicz reports that the authors of the Cochrane review have found that ranibizumab (Lucentis), which is most commonly used in the UK and costs about £700 an injection, is no more effective than bevacizumab (marketed as Avastin), which costs about £60 an injection. Researchers have previously estimated that using bevacizumab, rather than ranibizumab, could save the NHS £84m a year.

Elsewhere on, former “kidney tsar” Donal O’Donoghue has completed BMJ Confidential, and apologises to “every person I have looked at and seen only a kidney.” The Salford based professor of renal medicine says he is “as passionate about Manchester United as he is about NHS care,” and describes being a doctor as “a privilege and a ball.”

In a blog published last week, Ian Bushfield discusses two consultations that close today.

The first is the European Medicines Agency (EMA) consultation on updates to its EudraVigilance access policy. EudraVigilance is the database where reports of side effects from approved drugs in Europe are recorded. Bushfield says the proposal would give researchers access to more detailed and systematic records from the database, but it also contains a condition that would give the EMA the ability to block publication of analyses it disagreed with.

The second is a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consultation on draft guidance it has produced on writing consent forms for clinical trials. The guidance doesn’t say that trial sponsors can share anonymised patient data with independent researchers. Some pharmaceutical companies already claim that they can’t share more information from their clinical trials because consent forms didn’t explicitly include this, Bushfield says.

 Abi Rimmer is BMJ Careers news reporter.