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Friday, 8 March 2013

NICE lucentis guidance welcomed



Pharmaceutical company Novartis has welcomed the publication of guidance on the use of Lucentis for some patients with visual impairment due to diabetic macular oedema. 
 
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published formal Technology Appraisal Guidance (TAG) on the condition earlier this month, which included recommending the drug specifically in diabetic macular oedema patients with a retinal thickness of 400 micrometres or more in the eye at the start of treatment. 
 
Commenting on the news on behalf of the RNIB, Clara Eaglen, eye health policy and campaigns manager, said: "We are pleased that NICE has published its final guidance recommending Lucentis for use in treating some patients with Diabetic Macular Oedema (DMO) as this is something RNIB, along with a number of other charities, has been calling for since last year's initial decision not to make the treatment available.
 
"We believe NICE has thrown a lifeline to the growing number of people with diabetes facing blindness. DMO is a serious eye condition which can lead to sight loss as a result of fluid leaking from the small blood vessels in the eye. 
 
"Overall the decision is a step in the right direction and a decision that we hope will eventually be extended to reach all patients with DMO."
 
The latest backing of the drug, which is also known as ranibizumab, for the use in the treatment for some patients with diabetic macular oedema comes after NICE issued its Final Appraisal Determination recommending the drug in January. 
 
Novartis has labelled the guidance as ‘an important and long awaiting milestone in the management of this diabetes related eye disease.’ The company confirmed that it looks forward to working with the NHS to ensure that ophthalmology services are adequately supported to allow appropriate patients access to Lucentis. 
 
In December last year, Lucentis was approved to treat people in Scotland with vision impairment as a result of diabetic macular oedema.