NICE under fire over eye treatment

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) have received yet more criticism, this time over its draft guidance on drugs used to treat age-related macular degeneration.

NICE under fire over eye treatment
NICE under fire over eye treatment

NICE has offered draft recommendations on the use of ranibizumab (Lucentis) and pegaptanib (Macugen).

The guidance recommends that use of ranibizumab for about 20 per cent of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration, a condition which causes sight loss and blindness. However, it should only be used when both eyes are affected and then only in the better-seeing eye.

The guidance does not recommend the use of pegaptanib.

Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE said: 'When treatments are very expensive, we have to use them where they give the most benefit to patients.'

Mr Winfried Amoaku, of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said it was wrong to limit the use of the drugs to a particular group of patients. He also said that ranibizumab and pegaptanib had different modes of action and recommending only one treatment limited treatment options.

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