“This map shows how the use of Lucentis, the most expensive of three drugs used to treat [wet macular degeneration], varies across the country. The brightest reds show places where the vast majority of the money spent in treating the disease is spent on Lucentis; the deepest blues, shows places where most of the money spent treating the disease is spent on its cheaper alternatives.
“The three drugs doctors choose from are Lucentis, Eylea, and Avastin. Lucentis costs the most, at about $2000 per dose, and Eylea is slightly less, but Avastin is much cheaper, at about $50, according to 2012 data.
“Most interestingly, Lucentis, the most expensive drug, and Avastin, the cheapest, have been shown to be equivalently effective [for wet macular degeneration] in repeated randomized trials. The only difference is that Avastin is not sold in convenient doses and so must be divided up, adding another step and a very small risk of contamination.
“Such variety in treatment, analysts say, calls into question whether doctors are treating patients based on the best available evidence, or other considerations.”