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Genentech has postponed the date for stopping the sale of Avastin to compounding pharmacies from Nov. 30 to Jan. 1.
Genentech, maker of the cancer drug, bevacizumab (Avastin), had previously announced it would stop selling the drug to compounding pharmacies as of Nov. 30. In a new letter posted on its Web site, the drugmaker said it would delay the date to Jan. 1. The San Francisco firm said it pushed back the date following a meeting it held with ophthalmology leaders and retina specialists. Compounding pharmacies have been preparing bevacizumab in small doses on an off-label basis for patients with macular degeneration. Genentech explained that the FDA is concerned about the safety of these compounded preparations, so unless the agency gives the company authorization to resume supply to compounding pharmacies, the drug will be off-limits to them as of next year. The company added that it had destroyed four batches of the drug deemed unsuitable for use in the eyes because FDA inspectors had raised concerns about its continuing use for eyes. Had the drug not been compounded for ocular use, Genentech could have sold the batches at a market value of more than $200 million.