21 September 2018
Source: Royal College of Ophthalmologists
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) welcomes the High Court decision that has found in favour for the use of bevacizumab (Avastin) in the treatment of wet age related macular degeneration (wet AMD). Wet AMD is the biggest cause of vision loss in the UK and the hospital eye service is dealing with over 40,000 new diagnoses of wet AMD annually. It has been estimated that an adoption of Avastin, as part of a choice of drugs routinely prescribed for treatment, would release around £500million1 per year back to the NHS.
The ruling is vindication for The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, who have campaigned since 2012 for the use of Avastin in treatment for wet AMD.
Professor Andrew Lotery, RCOphth Scientific Chair says, ‘This is a great day for the NHS and patients. The ruling is extremely welcome as the Royal College has long petitioned on the use of Avastin as an effective treatment for wet AMD. Our members, ophthalmologists overseeing the treatment of patients with eye disease, can now feel assured that they can offer the best treatment for their patient’s individual needs. We expect that the release of funds in the use of Avastin will be secured to improve patient care within the hospital eye service.’
The use of Avastin to treat wet AMD may have an impact on capacity within the hospital eye service, as more injections per planned treatment for patients may be needed. It is critical that trusts work with their clinicians and commissioners to ensure that any further increase in demand on the hospital eye service (predicted to increase by 50% over the next 20 years2) can be strategically planned to continue to deliver efficient and high-quality care for patients.
Whilst the ruling will be welcomed by all ophthalmologists in all four home nations, the hospital eye service remains seriously under-resourced in staff, equipment and infrastructure to deliver a safe and effective service, including the treatment of wet AMD. These issues have been raised in the recent All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) report3 on Eye Health and Visual Impairment presented in Parliament on 6 June.
Read the Full response on the RCOphth Website
Vision UK is very happy to support the statement by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and await the response of the drug companies. We are also hopeful that the money saved will be reinvested into ophthalmic services.