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Saturday 21st September 2019

Patients get sight saving drug

27th August 2008

All patients in England who have age-related macular degeneration will be able to take a treatment called Lucentis to help their condition.


AMD can cause blindness and is the number one reason for sight loss in England. It occurs in two forms - wet and dry. Wet AMD causes around 90% of blindness resulting from the condition and is suffered by nearly 20,000 people every year in England.

Previously, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) had ruled that patients could only receive the drug after they had gone blind in one eye. The drug costs over £10,000 to treat each eye.

The guidance as met with fierce criticism and NICE changed its decision in December last year.

The makers of the treatment, drug company Novartis, and NICE have reached a deal where the health service will provide funding for 14 injections and Novartis will pay for any further treatment.

Some primary care trusts have already funded the drug for patients in advance of the NICE decision. This has led to "accusations of a postcode lottery in the NHS", with some PCTs facing legal action.

Steve Winyard, head of campaigns at the Royal National Institute for the Blind, said: "We've been waiting for this for over two years. It is a victory for thousands, bringing overwhelming relief to desperate people across the country."

"Finally the torment faced by elderly people forced to either spend their life savings on private treatment or go blind, is over."


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