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Novartis partners with NHS on eye service

Launches community programme in Bristol
novartis nhs eyecare bristol

Novartis has expanded its eyecare partnership with the NHS with the launch of a new community service near Bristol.

The pharma company will work with local NHS services to create new specialist eye treatment facilities at St Georges Medical Practice, a GP surgery in the village of Worle, near Weston-super-Mare.

The service will be able to treat patients for common eye conditions such as wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) – a leading cause of blindness - and visual impairment due to diabetic macular oedema (DMO). Previously these patients had to be treated at Bristol Eye Hospital.

The partnerships adds to existing schemes in place in the south of England and in Cardiff, where Novartis also supports NHS eye clinics, including a mobile unit. The company is also working with the NHS in south Bristol and plans to add another service in south Gloucestershire in 2015.

Clare Bailey, consultant ophthalmologist at Bristol Eye Hospital, explained the benefits of a local service for patients with eye conditions.

“There are many patients undergoing treatment for retinal disorders who need to attend monthly for their ongoing care. They can now be treated much closer to home, with assessment and treatment all performed on the same day.”

Frederic Guerard, managing director UK and Ireland, Novartis, added: “We are proud to work with the NHS to identify solutions which address unmet clinical need and promote excellence in ophthalmology. This new service builds on the great work in eye care that has already taken place at Bristol Eye Hospital.”

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.

Novartis gained a boost in September when it received a UK licence for Lucentis to be used without monthly monitoring, meaning the recommended regimen for the drug is one injection per month for three consecutive months, without a follow-up for visual acuity every month at a hospital.

The update was significant for Novartis as Eylea is recommended as a monthly treatment for three consecutive doses, followed by one injection every two months.

25th November 2014

From: Sales, Healthcare

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