Lucentis to be made available to all in England and Wales

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Lucentis (ranibizumab; Novartis) is to be made available to all patients of the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales, according to a report from the BBC. The final appraisal document (FAD) has been published ahead of final guidance, expected in June 2008.

Lucentis (ranibizumab; Novartis) is to be made available to all patients of the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales, according to a report from the BBC. The final appraisal document (FAD) has been published ahead of final guidance, expected in June 2008.

Previously, Lucentis was available through the NHS only to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in a second eye following AMD-induced blindness in the first, but strong opposition by the public and the industry to this recommendation caused Britain's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to review the decision. Although NICE issued revised guidance in December 2007 recommending Lucentis be available for patients with wet AMD in either eye, many primary care trusts (PCTs) continued to follow the initial guidance.

Although already fully available in Scotland, the FAD assures that the injection will now be made available in all PCTs throughout Britain. Following final guidance, the NHS will fund the initial 14 treatments for each eye, with Novartis covering the cost of any further injections under a "dose-capping" scheme. A course of 14 injections spanning two years costs around £10,700.

The newly published FAD recommends Lucentis for the treatment of all eyes with wet AMD and best corrected visual acuity between 6/12 and 6/96.

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