SOURCE: AMD Alliance International

AMD Alliance International

July 25, 2011 10:30 ET

Leading Vision and Diabetes Charities Plan to Challenge NICE Refusal to Recommend Lucentis for DMO

LONDON and NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Jul 25, 2011) - AMD Alliance International and Diabetes UK, as well as patient organisations across the world, are dismayed to hear the news that the UK body NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), has refused to recommend Lucentis for the treatment of Diabetic macular oedema (DMO). "As a result of this decision, thousands of patients are at a much greater risk of severe loss of sight," said Narinder Sharma, Chief Executive of AMD Alliance International.

NICE is the governing body responsible for appraising drugs within the National Health Service in the UK. NICE acknowledged that the drug was effective in treating DMO. They however, on the grounds of cost effectiveness compared to laser therapy, refused to make it available on the NHS.

"Patient organisations worldwide are dismayed that UK patients are denied access to effective treatment when vision is such a crucial factor for allowing patients to lead independent lives. This decision is short-sighted and against common sense because it effectively recommends letting more patients go blind, thus causing more suffering and also higher costs in the long-term," continued Sharma. "Lucentis has been shown to be superior in clinical trials compared to the existing laser therapy. Patients deserve the best treatment to prevent sight loss and improve vision."

Simon O'Neill, Director of Care and Advocacy at Diabetes UK, said: "This decision means more people will needlessly lose their sight. In the UK, DMO affects around 50,000 people with diabetes. We pressed hard to make this treatment available on the NHS and we will campaign for NICE to reconsider its decision. The cost of looking after people with sight loss far outweighs the cost of Lucentis treatment, let alone the human cost.

"We are very concerned local health services will use this decision as an excuse to stop treatment. We will monitor the situation across the country closely to ensure patients currently receiving Lucentis continue to do so as per the NICE guidance. We would also like to see urgent testing into alternative treatments for diabetic macular oedema."

We urge the British Government, NICE and the manufacturer of Lucentis (Novartis AG) to seek a solution that is in the best interests of the patient. We shall be appealing and campaigning for a reversal of this decision and shall be meeting in London in the near future to plan our course of action. "The NHS has a long tradition of putting patients first and leading opinion across the globe," said Sharma. "We hope this tradition will continue. The vision of patients depends on it."

About AMD Alliance International (AMDAI)

AMDAI www.amdalliance.org is a consortium of 70 of the world's leading vision, seniors, and research organizations in 27 countries, and is the only international organization in the world dedicated exclusively to promoting awareness, treatment and research into macular disease.

About Diabetes UK

Diabetes UK is the leading charity for over 3.5 million people in the UK with diabetes. In 2011, Diabetes UK aims to spend over £6 million on diabetes research to investigate the causes and prevention of diabetes, to improve care and treatment of diabetes and ultimately to work towards a cure. For more information, visit www.diabetes.org.uk. In the UK, there are currently 2.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes and it is estimated that 850,000 people have Type 2 diabetes but do not know it.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Narinder Sharma
    CEO
    AMD Alliance International
    Cell: +44 (0) 7971 950 125
    Office: +44 (0)115 935 2100
    EMAIL: Email Contact

    Maria Lam
    Diabetes UK
    +44 (0) 20 7424 1166
    Email Email Contact