• Academy Objects to VEGF Drug’s Placement on Draft List of Hazardous Medications

    The Academy this week told the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that aflibercept, a drug commonly used to treat age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, should not be placed on a proposed hazardous drugs list for 2021. 

    The Academy became concerned when aflibercept, a vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitor also known as Eylea, appeared on the hazardous drugs list for the first time this year.

    Placing aflibercept on the hazardous drugs list would require physicians to have to acquire additional personal protective equipment to handle it, resulting in unnecessary additional costs to practices already financially hit by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

    “No other VEGF inhibitor used as an ocular injection is included on the hazardous drugs list, therefore we believe that aflibercept for ocular injection may have mistakenly been added to the 2020 draft list,” according to the Academy’s July 28 letter to NIOSH, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We have concerns that if aflibercept remains on the hazardous drug list patient access could be restricted and provider burden increased.”

    Aflibercept has a proven safety record, and we believe aflibercept does not pose any occupational safety risks. Last year, according to the Academy’s IRIS® Registry data, there were nearly 4.93 million Medicare claims for intravitreal drug injections such as aflibercept.

    The comment period ended July 30, and the agency is scheduled to adopt a final version of the proposed hazardous drug list by December.