CAIRO: Three ophthalmologists and a governmental eye hospital head have been interrogated over allegedly causing blindness in patients, while another private hospital closed over importing an illegal off-label drug in Tanta city of Delta’s Gharbia governorate.
The Tanta Prosecution launched Monday investigations into the three doctors and Tanta Eye Hospital director Badr al-Din al-Sayyed over injecting 13 patients, including children, with off-label Avastin drug which caused them to go blind.
Two patients lost all their sight, three have lost most of their visio, while the rest of the patients still receive required medical treatments, medical official told Youm7 Monday.
Gharbia governor Ahmed Daif Sakar has ordered treatment of five patients who suffered corneal opacity due to the Avastin injection at state expenses.
A Health Ministry committee, tasked to examine the patients, closed al-Manar private hospital that provided unusable Avastin to the governmental hospital. Committee members told Youm7 that the Avastin used by the hospital was unregistered by the Health Ministry, and it was unlicensed by the World Health Organization (WHO), adding that only few countries use the medicine for cancer treatment.
Avastin, the trade name of Bevacizumab, is used unofficially to treat eye diseases. Bevacizumab was initially approved by U.S. FDA for colorectal cancer treatment, WHO said.
“Intravitreal bevacizumab administration is now used as a first line therapy for several diseases by many retina specialists and accounts for more than 50% of anti-VEGF administrations in the US,” the WHO reported.