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Novartis expands eyecare partnership with NHS

And wins new licence for Lucentis
Novartis Lucentis wet AMD

Pharma company Novartis has teamed up with the NHS in Wales to launch a new eyecare clinic that will allow 100 more patients to be treated per week.

The new unit will be situated at the University Hospital of Wales (UHOW) in Cardiff where staff will treat patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common eye condition that is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50 in the UK.

More than 1,000 people in Wales develop the condition each year and UHOW currently treats 600 patients per month. The unit will up this number to 700 patients who will be able to take part in five dedicated one-stop clinic sessions, two virtual clinic sessions and two reporting sessions per week.

The hospital will also add two interconnecting clean rooms for patients who require intra-vitreal injection, freeing up space in the operating theatre for more complex procedures.

Sanjiv Banerjee, a consultant ophthalmologist at UHOW, said: "This new unit will enable the macular team to meet patient demand and ensure that increasing numbers of wet AMD patients in the area receive the care that they need and reduce waiting times. This partnership is an important example of industry and the NHS working together to improve patient access to these vital services."

The launch of the Cardiff eye unit follows a similar partnership between Novartis and Frimley Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey.

In that instance the partners created a mobile health unit to travel through the region and assess and treat for wet AMD in accessible locations such as supermarkets.

New Lucentis licence

There was more positive news for Novartis' eyecare plans in the UK with the announcement that its main product in the area – Lucentis (ranibizumab) – can now be used without monthly monitoring.

This means the recommended regimen for Lucentis is now one injection per month for three consecutive months, without a follow-up for visual acuity every month at a hospital.

Instead ophthalmologists now have more flexibility in their approach and can will be able to determine monitoring and treatment intervals based on disease activity.

The update is significant for Novartis as the main competitor for Lucentis in wet AMD - Bayer's Eylea (aflibercept) - is recommended as a monthly treatment for three consecutive doses, followed by one injection every two months.

Article by
Thomas Meek

25th September 2014

From: Sales, Healthcare

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