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"OccuLogix prepares to roll out AMD treatment"

Globe and Mail

Source: Globe and Mail

Published: 03 Jan 2022

Category: Other

Rating: (1 star)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Joe Christian is watching an Ocean's Eleven DVD from his bed at a Veris Health Sciences AMD clinic in Toronto, where his blood is being filtered in a dialysis-like procedure that has a good chance of saving his eyesight.

"When it's all said and done, it'll cost me $35,000 out of my own pocket for the treatments and travel," said the 75-year-old retiree from Beauport, N.C. "But if it costs $350,000, it'd be worth it."

Mr. Christian is one of an estimated 17 million people in North America suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in seniors. His condition is the common dry version of AMD, where blood vessels at the back of the eye become clogged and can't deliver nutrients to retinal cells, leading to irreversible vision loss....

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The original article can found in the Media Doctor archives.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 2 of 10
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Not Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of harms of treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This is a disappointing story about rheopheresis, a dialysis-type treatment that treats "dry" age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to irreversible vision loss. The article is from this newspaper's business pages, and contains very little of the essential information that a report on a new treatment should contain. The supposed benefits of the treatment come from interim data presented at a meeting of American ophthalmologists and the author admits that the presentation was more about getting opthalmologists interested in the treatment than proving its efficacy. The article lacks key information such as the state of the evidence, the benefits and harms related to the treatment, and the comparison of the treatment to alternatives (the hodge-podge of vitamins). No outside sources are consulted in the context of the article except for stock market analysts. What we do learn is that the treatment is new, only available in 5 clinics in Canada, and relatively costly. A patient undergoing the treatment is quoted as being willing to pay $350,000 for such a treatment but readers of the business pages and investors deserve better reporting than this breathless (and contextless) testimonial. Since there is currently no effective treatment for dry macular degeneration this type of story could certainly stimulate business interest in the process being described but given the allegedly high cost patients should wait until there is clear scientific evidence of its effectiveness.

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