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Published on 2 April 2008

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Sight saving drug approved by NHS

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A new soon-to-be approved drug will save the sight of thousands of people from a devastating eye disease, a charity has said.

The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) welcomed the news that the health watchdog will approve Lucentis for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD is the leading cause of sight loss in the UK and destroys the central region of the retina, the macula, leading to progressive loss of sight.

It comes in two forms – wet and dry – with the dry form being far more common, while the wet type is the more aggressive and accounts for around 90% of blindness caused by the condition.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is to publish a final appraisal document recommending Lucentis – also called ranibizumab – for treating wet AMD and rejecting Macugen – pegaptanib – as not cost-effective.

If there are no appeals, final guidance will be published in June and the NHS is expected to implement it.

Nice recommends the use of Lucentis as long as several conditions are met in the eye to be treated.

It also announced that the NHS would only fund 14 injections, with the cost of any more being met by the manufacturer, in this case Novartis.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

NICE

The Royal National Institute for the Blind



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