Writing in The American John Calfee surveys the recent history of medical innovation. I was especially struck by Lucentis, a new drug that Science magazine ranked sixth in its ten breakthroughs of the year (number one was the solution to Poincare’s conjecture). Lucentis has had stunning success in treating age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in seniors.
What makes Lucentis, as Calfee notes, especially interesting is that Lucentis is what industry critics call a "me-too" drug, a simple twist on another drug. Moreover, it’s a twist on a drug originally approved to to treat cancer but subsequently used off-label to treat AMD.