A drug that improves the sight of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is now available in Scotland, but English and Welsh patients must still seek private treatment
if they wish to benefit.
Injections of Lucentis can prevent patients with wet AMD from going blind, with a recent study revealing that the drug had improved or stabilised eyesight in nine out of ten patients after two years of treatment.
However, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) is not expected to rule on whether Lucentis should be made available on the NHS in England and Wales until September.
In the meantime, patients will be forced to find up to £28,000 to obtain the drug via private treatment.
Steve Winyard, a spokesman for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, described the Scottish Medicines Consortium's (SMC) decision to recommend Lucentis on the NHS as "fantastic news for patients in Scotland".
"But wet AMD patients in other parts of the UK face an uphill struggle to get hold of the treatments," he continued, adding that around 80 per cent of primary care trusts in England are refusing to fund them.
"We have a real chance to turn wet AMD, which devastates so many lives, into a largely treatable condition - but only if Nice follows the examples of the SMC and approves these sight-saving treatments," he said.© Adfero Ltd
Treatment news : 15/06/2007