The Veterans Affairs medical center in Los Angeles reported that four more patients became blind after they were injected with Avastin, taking the number of patients suffering from eye problems due to the drug to over 20.
While Avastin, manufactured by Roche, is not approved for treating eye infection, it is substantially cheaper alternative at just $50 to the manufacturer's other drug Lucentis, which costs over $2,000, and is often used to treat patients suffering from wet form of age-related macular degeneration and other eye diseases.
However the number of eye problems related to the drug has been on the rise with 12 patients in Miami complaining of eye infections after they were injected with Avastin while four other patients also had a similar problem in Nashville.
The FDA revealed that the problems have been caused by bacterial contamination of Avastin and warned the doctors to be careful while using the drug. "Health care professionals should ensure that drug products are obtained from appropriate, reliable sources and properly administered", it said.