Nova Scotia Contemplates Lucentis Treatment

Nova Scotia is contemplating providing coverage for Lucentis, the leading macular degeneration treatment.

According to Maureen MacDonald, Nova Scotia’s health minister, the province may pay for Lucentis treatments for macular degeneration payments if it can afford the drug.  Lucentis treatments for Novia Scotians is estimated to have a cost of $5 million annually.

MacDonald has indicated “We’re reviewing that drug as part of the budget process.”

For those people in Nova Scotia diagnosed with macular degeneration having access to Lucentis treatments would be a major step forward in treating the degenerative eye disease.  Lucentis treatments are typically injected into the eye of macular degeneration patients suffering from the rapidly progressing version of the eye disease – wet macular degeneration.

Currently the cost of Lucentis treatments for Nova Scotians costs approximately $1,600 per month.  People who are now diagnosed with macular degeneration must pay for these Lucentis treatments themselves while other provinces such as Newfoundland, Ontario and Quebec provide funding for Lucentis.

There is growing support throughout Nova Scotia for the government to provide coverage for Lucentis treatments for macular degeneration.  People are advocating use of the sight saving treatment for the eye disease.


  1. Lucentis (ranibizumab) is a medicine injected into the eye for the treatment of wet macular degeneration (AMD).

    Approval by the FDA was in June 2006. It belongs to a new category of drugs called anti-VEGF drugs , which is a fancy word for saying that it stops new blood vessels from developing.

    Our eyes will try to develop new blood vessels when they are lacking oxygen due to poor circulation or because the tissues are clogged. However, the blood vessels that develop are abnormal and they leak. Such is the case in wet macular degeneration.

    Wet macular degeneration is the result of the formation of new, fragile and leaky blood vessels growing under the retina.

    The growth of these new blood vessels is called angiogenesis.

    Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is secreted by cells that are oxygen deprived and stimulate the growth of these abnormal blood vessels.

    Healthy adults secrete very low levels of VEGF, while those who have health conditions such as cancer or age related macular degeneration secrete high levels of this protein.

    To learn more about how anti-VEGF therapy works for those with wet macualr degeneration and other treatment options go to:

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