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Additional NICE recommendation for Novartis’ Lucentis

Says drug can be used in patients with macular oedema caused by blockage of the veins in the retina

Novartis wet AMD Lucentis ranibizumab

Novartis has received an additional draft recommendation in macular oedema from the UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for Lucentis.

The cost-effectiveness body released final draft guidance stating that the drug should be available for NHS use in England and Wales to treat macular oedema caused by blockage of the veins behind the retina, adding to its existing final draft recommendation for use in patients with diabetic macular oedema.

Both conditions involve the leakage of fluid from blood vessels under the macula, causing swelling and vision impairment.

The latest guidance covers both central or branch retinal vein occlusion (CRVO or BRVO), although the use of Lucentis (ranibizumab) in BRVO only applies if standard treatment involving a laser to seal ocular blood vessels has not worked or is not suitable.

As with the diabetic macular oedema recommendation, NICE's recommendation for the use of Lucentis in macular oedema caused by blockage of the veins only applies if the drug is provided by Novartis at a discount through a patient access scheme.

According to Novartis, it is estimated 17,000 people each year in the UK are diagnosed with visual impairment due to macular oedema secondary to either CRVO or BRVO, and access to Lucentis could have a major impact on their lives.

Referencing the drug's existing NICE recommendation to treat Wet AMD, Dr Ian Pearce, St Paul's Eye Unit, Royal Liverpool Hospital, said: “It is an established and well-tolerated treatment which when used to treat RVO can lead to rapid and significant gains in vision.

“The impact of this cannot be underestimated as it can make the difference in a person's ability to carry out everyday tasks such as reading and driving.”

In addition to its recent NICE recommendation for diabetes macular oedema, Lucentis was also recommended by the Scottish Medicines Consortium to treat NHS patients in Scotland who have the condition.

NICE's final decision on the use of Lucentis visual impairment due to macular oedema secondary to CRVO or BRVO is expected in the coming months.

11th April 2013

From: Sales, Healthcare

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