Official: No One Blinded by Cancer Drug

SHANGHAI, Sept. 12 (UPI) — A Chinese health official says reports of patients injected with the cancer drug Avastin going blind are untrue.

Sixty-one patients treated with the drug at Shanghai No. 1 People’s Hospital had adverse reactions, but none were blinded, China Daily reported Sunday.

“No one has become blind after being given the injection. These reports are not correct,” Song Huofan, an official from the Shanghai Municipal Health Bureau, said.

Huofan said 56 of those injected with the drug recovered and “some of them will be released from hospital very soon.”

Media reports Friday said about 80 people treated with the drug experienced pain, red eyes and blurred vision, and that 55 had gone blind.

An official at China’s Ministry of Health said it is trying to find out why so many patients had adverse reactions to the drug.

Avastin is the trade name of bevacizumab. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its use in the treatment of metastatic colon cancer and non-small cell lung cancer in 2004; it is marketed by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, the report said.

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