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Novartis and NHS launch mobile eye unit in UK

First of its kind unit to offer 250 clinic slots per week across Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire

The relationship between England's NHS and the pharma industry continued to strengthen with the launch of a mobile eye unit developed in partnership between Novartis and Frimley Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The mobile unit will travel across Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire providing diagnosis and treatment services for the eye condition age related macular degeneration – the most common cause of sight loss in people over 50 in the UK.

The unit, which offers the exact same eye care services as the hospital, will assess and treat up to 50 patients each day in accessible locations such as local supermarkets.

The partners explained that the unit means patients will no longer need to travel to Frimley Park Hospital for treatment - a significant burden on patients who need to travel long distances and need injections of medicine every few weeks.

novartis nhs mobile eye care unit 

From left: Andrew Morris, chief executive of Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Fred Guerard, managing director of Novartis UK and Ireland;  Geeta Menon, consultant ophthalmologist and macular services lead;  Melanie Bostock, matron for the Eye Treatment Centre; Jeremy Hunt; health secretary; Eric Malanta and Louise McCaffrey, staff nurses at the eye treatment centre.

The unit was officially launched yesterday in a ceremony attended by health secretary Jeremy Hunt whose constituents in South West Surrey use services at Frimley Park.

Speaking at the opening ceremony Hunt said: “This is the first mobile unit of its kind in England, and is an excellent example of how innovative services lead to better access and improved treatment for patients.”

Novartis' interests in the area lie in Lucentis (ranibizumab), which is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to treat wet AMD among other eye conditions.

The drug was the dominant force in wet AMD treatment for some time, although is now facing a challenge from Bayer's Eylea (aflibercept), which was recommended last year.

Little separates the two drugs in terms of effectiveness, safety and cost, although Eylea does have the edge in terms of frequency of dose.

Bayer's drug is recommended as a monthly treatment for three consecutive doses, followed by one injection every two months, whereas patients on Lucentis should start with one injection per month for three consecutive months, followed by a phase in which patients are monitored for visual acuity every month at a hospital.

27th June 2014

From: Sales

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