News that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued a final draft guidance that rejects the use of Lucentis (also known as ranibizumab) for
treating diabetic macular oedema (DMO) has brought criticism from diabetes groups concerned about reasons behind the decision.
The drug, which has been developed by pharma giant Novartis, is an expensive treatment for dealing with the condition, and the charity Diabetes UK has accused NICE of rejecting the drug because of cost, which could have the effect of more people unnecessarily losing their sight.
Barbara Young, chief executive of the charity, commented “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.”
However, Sir Andrew Dillo, the chief executive of NICE, also stated that the panel had been “acutely aware that visual impairment can have a substantial negative impact on quality of life and activities of daily living in people with DMO, especially since it can affect people’s ability to manage their diabetes.”
NICE found that Novartis’ model did not fully take into account the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for Lucentis monotherapy compared to the usual treatment for patients with DMO.

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