How Much Does Avastin Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

Avastin or bevacizumab, made by Genentech, is approved for patients with breast, colon and lung cancer and is designed in a way to cut off the tumors’ blood supply.

How much does Avastin cost?

The cost of Avastin will depend on a variety of factors, including the reason for treatment, the doctor you use, your geographical location and the number of treatments required going forward.  The New York Times, for example, noted the cost of this cancer drug can cost upwards of $100,000 per year, while an injection for your eyes to treat wet AMD, for instance, can cost as little as $50 per injection.   The costs, dependent upon the patients’ weight and the type of cancer, can average $4,000 to more than $10,000 a month without any insurance coverage, with a full course averaging at least $50,000+.

As for health insurance coverage, Medicare, for example, typically pays 80 percent but will require the doctor or hospital to be paid in the amount of the drug’s average selling price, plus a markup of five to six percent.  While most health insurance companies will cover the drug, the amount you’re responsible for will primarily depend on your insurance policy restrictions, your deductibles and co-pays.  In the New York Times article mentioned prior, it’s not too uncommon to find out that your insurance company will make you pay a percentage of your total bill.  For example, one patient they talked to who had colon cancer was charged $6,000 a month and was responsible for $1,500 of that.  To know what you’re responsible for, talk with your insurance company to see what you may need to budget.

How to save on Avastin

Manufacturer coupon:  The official manufacturer of the drug, Genentech, does offer the Genentech BioOncology Co-Pay Card, a co-pay card that covers at least 80 percent of each infusion or prescription so that you only pay the remaining 20 percent.  To qualify, you must have commercial insurance and will have to register online via the official website at copayassistancenow.com.

Patient assistance programs:  Aside from the typical government assistance, multiple non-profit organizations are out there that are able to help cover all of a portion of your medication as long as you meet the program’s eligibility terms.  Genentech Access Solutions, for example, allows potential applicants to receive the medication at no cost as long as the applicant has no insurance and a limited income.  Another program, Good Days Patient Assistance Program, can also help applicants out as long as you have a valid insurance policy and a prescription.  The program also asks you have been diagnosed with the disease to be eligible.  There are a lot of programs such as the ones mentioned and a quick online search can often yield multiple results to help you save on your upcoming doctor’s appointment.

Avastin side effects

The most common side effects seen, as per the official website, includes high blood pressure, high protein levels in the urine, nosebleeds, back pain, headaches, taste change, dry skin, inflammation and watery eyes.  More serious, yet possible side effects may include a severely high blood pressure, kidney problems, infusion problems, heart problems or a nervous system/vision problems. Blindness was also a concern in some cases.

This is not a full list of side effects you may experience; for more information, refer to this FDA guide.

What is Avastin?

Avastin is a man-made antibody (IgG1) that is used to help treat multiple cancers, including, cervical, colon, kidney, lung, ovarian and rectal cancer.  It can also treat certain cancers found in the fallopian tube or the lining of the abdominal wall, as well as certain brain tumors.  The medication works by blocking the VEGF protein in order to decrease the blood supply to help slow the tumor growth.  The medication is always administered by a healthcare professional, with the first dosage given over 90 minutes and subsequent dosages given over a shorter period, usually 60 or 30 minutes long.  The actual dosage will be based on the patient’s weight, medical condition and how well they responded to past therapies.

Tips to know

As one of the most popular cancer treatment drugs in the world, Avastin had sales surpassing $3.5 billion in 2007.

Genentech, as per the AAO, has not sought FDA approval for Avastin when used for the treatment of wet AMD; however, in February 2004, the FDA did approve the medication for colon cancer.

Avastin has a high price tag when used for colon cancer, but when used for eye treatments, it only uses 1/40th of the drug for each dose, hence the lower-than-average price tag.


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