Diabetes UK, along with three other UK charities, have launched an appeal against a NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) decision that could lead to thousands of people with diabetes needlessly losing their sight. Diabetes UK,Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation,Macular Disease Societyand theRoyal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), argue that they have not been able to comment on significant new evidence about a sight-saving drug.
NICE proposes not to recommend the drug Lucentis to treat the eye condition diabetic macular oedema (DMO) on the NHS. However, stakeholders have not had the opportunity to study new evidence submitted to NICE by the drug's manufacturer, Novartis.
Call for proper consultation
The charities are calling for a proper consultation allowing stakeholders to submit their comments.
Steve Winyard, RNIB Head of Policy and Campaigns said, "Patients at risk of losing their sight have a right to expect that a full review of all the available information takes place. However, NICE has failed to consult with experts from patient organisations on this new evidence, nor have they sought advice from clinicians who treat people with this condition on a daily basis. We strongly believe that some of the assumptions they have made about the cost-effectiveness of the treatment are wrong."
The charities are also urging Novartis, the Department of Health and NICE to reconsider the option of a Patient Access Scheme so that a maximum number of patients can benefit from this new sight saving treatment.
In the best interests of the patient
Simon O'Neill, Director of Care, Information & Advocacy Services at Diabetes UK, said: "This decision means more people with diabetes will needlessly lose their sight. This will make it far more difficult for them to manage their diabetes and put them at increased risk of other devastating complications, vastly expensive both in terms of human and economic costs.
We are urging the Department of Health, NICE and the manufacturer of Lucentis to seek a solution that is in the best interests of the patient as it is vital people with diabetes are able to access this treatment on the NHS.
Add your voice to the campaign
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