NICE rejects sight-saving drug for NHS use

NICE rejects sight-saving drug for NHS use

Dec 03
NICE rejects sight-saving drug for NHS use

Health watchdog the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has rejected an eye drug that could be used to save the sight of people with diabetes.

Ranibizumab, which is sold as Lucentis, is injected into the eye and could be used as an alternative to laser eye treatment from for people with diabetic macular oedema. However, NICE claims the drug is too expensive to be made available on the NHS in England and Wales, saying laser treatment offers a more cost-effective solution.

The move has disappointed charities such as the Royal National Institute for the Blind and Diabetes UK, which claim it could be used to save the sight of thousands of people. Simon O’Neill, director of care, information and advocacy at Diabetes UK, said diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK.

“It is now of upmost importance that the drug manufacturer works with the Department of Health and NICE to negotiate the costs of this treatment so people with diabetes are still able to access it without detracting from other vital NHS services, such as Diabetes Specialist Nurses and eye screening,” he added.

Drug manufacturer Novartis has also said it believes there was insufficient consultation with clinical and patient experts on the benefits of Lucentis.

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