Feature

Commentary: NHS patients should have a choice of drug for wet age-related macular degeneration, despite pressure from pharma

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5013 (Published 01 November 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5013
  1. David Hambleton, chief officer
  1. South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, Jarrow, UK
  1. d.hambleton{at}nhs.net

Commissioners have to pay more than lip service to the obligation on us to find cost effective treatment options. Our 12 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have therefore agreed a policy to offer the thousands of patients in our region diagnosed with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) every year the choice of bevacizumab as preferred treatment.

That bevacizumab is as clinically effective and safe as aflibercept and ranibizumab—which patients will continue to be offered as alternatives—has been shown comprehensively.1 We intend to share information with patients through accessible media (including leaflets and audiovisual material) about the treatment options available, the evidence base, and the comparative costs—and allow them to make their own choice.

The …

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