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NICE backs new use for Bayer’s Eylea

Will go up against Novartis’ Lucentis in treatment of macular oedema in UK
Bayer Eylea aflibercept wet AMD

Bayer continued to keep the pressure on rival pharma company Novartis after authorities in England backed used of the eye disorder drug Eylea in a new indication.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published final guidance recommending Eylea (aflibercept solution for injection) for the treatment of patients with visual impairment due to macular oedema.

This recommendation means Bayer's drug is now available for mainstream use on the NHS in England and Wales in this condition, going directly up against Novartis' Lucentis (ranibizumab), which was approved in a similar indication in May 2013.

Specifically, Eylea's recommendation covers use of the drug in the treatment of NHS patient with macular oedema caused by central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) – a blockage in the vein of the retina. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness and other painful eye conditions.

Lucentis has a slightly expanded indication, which also covers branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO), although only if treatment involving the use of lasers to seal blood vessels in the eye has not worked.

Despite Lucentis' initial headway in the RVO market in the UK, Eylea should provide stiff competition, considering that, unlike its rival from Novartis, Bayer's drug does not require monthly visits to hospital to monitoring once the condition has stabilised.

Both drugs must also be provided at a discount to the NHS through a patient access scheme.

Helen Jackman, chief executive of the Macular Society explained that CRVO can put a massive strain on patients and their families as people lose their independence to carry out daily activities.

“This is why it is important to have effective treatment options available for this difficult to treat condition and we urge the NHS to implement this guidance within the mandated 90 days so patients can get access to it as soon as possible,” she said.

Eylea is already available on the NHS to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition for which Lucentis is also approved.

26th February 2014

From: Sales

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