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Saturday 21st September 2019

Approval for sight-saving jab

2nd April 2008

New guidelines due to be published in June is expected to see patients across England and Wales receive a sight-saving drug on the NHS.


Lucentis, administered by injection, treats age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which destroys the central part of the retina and is a major cause of sight loss in this country.

Currently, it is offered by some Primary Care Trusts in England and Wales but only made available to patients who have lost the sight of one eye through the condition, though it is already available in Scotland.

If there are no appeals, the final guidance from NICE will be published in June and the NHS is then expected to implement its recommendation for using Lucentis.

There are wet and dry forms of AMD and while dry is more common, the wet form is more aggressive and is responsible for about 90% of blindness caused by the condition.

Under the guidance, the NHS would only fund a course of 14 injections, with any further treatment met by the manufacturer Novartis.

The Royal National Institute for the Blind has been campaigning for two years for the treatment and describes the imminent guidance as a huge step.

Barbara McLaughlan from the RNIB said at present patients are told they can wait until they lose sight in one eye before getting NHS treatment or pay for it themselves.

She added: “With this decision, it means that patients are no longer put in a situation where they have to choose between their sight and their life savings.?


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